Maybe you’ve heard that “Google is the new resume” and that your online presence is the most important thing hiring managers will consider when you apply for jobs. In reality, most companies are not abandoning the resume, and hiring is still done using traditional methods in most companies. However, social media should still be a key component of your job search. Why? What many people forget is that the most time honored way to get a job is via networking, and social media is just the latest and greatest way to tap and grow your network. Twitter is one of the best online tools to help you network well online.
When used well, Twitter can be a real door opener for job seekers who are wiling to try a new strategy to reach out and connect with people who may be able to refer them for jobs. If you’re not convinced Twitter can help you, consider this: CareerXroads, a consulting practice, conducts annual studies about how organizations source and hire employees. Their most recent study showed that nearly half of all companies make at least one hire for every five referrals they get.
Even if you’re not good at math, it’s clear that you’ll have a better chance to land an interview (and a job) if you can increase the number of contacts who know, like and trust you. Luckily, Twitter is a terrific way to improve your chances in all of those areas.
How can Twitter help you compete in today’s job market?
What Can Twitter Do For You?
Provide a mechanism to help you demonstrate your expertise.
Job seekers don’t always spend time thinking about how to showcase their expertise, but it’s an important strategy everyone should keep in mind. If you’re an expert in your field, but you don’t make an effort to let people know, it’s difficult to attract opportunities, and unlikely anyone will approach you with an opportunity for a job. When you use Twitter to share information and news about your industry, you make it clear that you have your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in your field, even if you’re not currently employed.
In addition to highlighting what you know by posting status updates to appeal to people in your field, Twitter gives you a chance to demonstrate skills employers like to see. For example, if you say you’re a great, efficient and effective communicator on your resume, you can prove it by having a useful and well-written stream of information on Twitter. If you’re touting your skills as a great team builder, you can show how you built a community on Twitter as proof.
Allow you to meet and connect with people beyond your normal circle of friends and colleagues.
There’s a logical limit to how many people you can meet, even if you go to every networking event in your area. When statistics show how important referrals are for job seekers, it becomes a numbers game in addition to a skills issue: how many people know about you, and how many of them would be willing to pass along your name for an opportunity or introduce you to a key contact?
You may be surprised by how generous people on Twitter can be. Even if they have not met you in person, many people who connect with you online and see a useful and intelligent stream of information via your Twitter handle may be willing to connect you with someone who could change your job search trajectory dramatically! Don’t think of Twitter as frivolous; it can help provide some important contacts and potential access to people you’d never otherwise easily access, including CEOs, hiring managers and colleagues at target companies.
Teach you new information.
It’s important to keep abreast of what’s new in your field, but there’s so much to do everyday, it’s easy to get out of the loop. Once you follow a well-connected, informed group on Twitter, you’ll never need much more than to sign into your Twitter account to learn what’s new and what’s hot in your industry. Ideally, you’ll become one of those go-to people to follow, but on your way there, you’ll learn a lot about what’s going on in your field by following other people who care about the same topics as you and tweet about them.
Help people find you
When you take the time to demonstrate your expertise and expand your network, the next logical step is that you’ll make it easier to find you. One of the best things about social media is the opportunity to reverse the job search process: instead of always applying for jobs (pushing your resume and application into a position), social media allows you to be out in the media sphere so hiring managers have a chance to find you. Wouldn’t it be great to be recruited to your next job, without even needing to apply? That’s more of an option when you hop on Twitter and other social media sites to showcase what you know and engage with potential colleagues.
Don’t discount the social media tool with the bird logo — you could be 140 characters away from connecting with someone with the power to change your career!