As I mentioned in my post about LinkedIn for the boomer or senior job hunt, showing that you are tech savvy and know your way around social media can counter a hiring manager’s concern that you can’t learn, can’t keep up and don’t know what’s going on in the modern world. As I often point out to prospective employers or clients, what could be better than the work ethics of a 50+ candidate, combined with the tech know-how the job requires and the social savvy to virally market the company’s brand and its job openings? Learn your way around social media and you will be able to say the same thing.
Twitter is important for several reasons – first, because it’s a very easy way to search for those who are leaders in the industry in which you want to work, a super-easy way for you to get a conversation started, a venue for you to showcase your own expertise or at least interest, and a way to show that you are self-directed (For, no one is paying you or ordering you to tweet about the business, you just are.) Twitter is also a dynamite source of information you might not find anywhere else. There have been numerous times that I’ve heard about companies that I never knew existed and wanted to write about, and initiated conversations that led to interviews for articles.
If you’re not familiar with exactly how Twitter works, there are others who have done a great job of explaining that, along with some tips for its general use. Watch this YouTube video by HowCast that walks you through the basics. It’s a little old, and leaves out some new Twitter features – the Connect link, for example, where you can see Interactions and Mentions. Click on your Twitter profile and then Interactions and you’ll see who has followed you. Click on Mentions and you’ll see who has talked about you. Mentions are really important -they can be a real clue to which of the things you’re talking about on Twitter are getting attention, and from whom.
The important basics for Twitter, and your job hunt:
- Create a profile that explains what you’re all about, keeping in mind that you want to emphasize your job hunt. You might be an avid swimmer, but unless you’re looking for a job as a lifeguard or pool attendant, or perhaps manager of the local YMCA, FinFan might not be the right Twitter profile. If you’re looking for an accounting job, you’d be better off calling yourself CalcYOULater or BudgetBalanceBob or some such. Get the idea? And the Twitter profile will provide you quite a bit of space to put a bio, and a hyperlink. (which, if you don’t yet have a blog or your own website, can be your LinkedIN profile URL. You DID create your LinkedIn profile after your read my LinkedIn for your job hunt post, right?) You may end up with more than one Twitter profile, each devoted to a specific interest or purpose. I have four. I am @TeleworkGuru, because I wrote a book about telework and am writing another one now. I am @ClassifiedTiger and @MediaTiger because I write about the world of classified advertising and other media products and ideas for media consultancy AIM Group. I am @SeniorWellth where I talk about the topics I discuss here.
The graphic below is a look at my TeleworkGuru profile page on Twitter. Generally you’ll have your photo here, but instead I put a screenshot of the book that Bill Fenson and I wrote. See how much I’ve put in my short bio, and how many people I am following and are following me. If you open up the links in the left sidebar, Following will show you all the people you are following. Followers will show you the profiles of those who are following you. Click on the graphic to go to my Twitter page, where you can wander around and see for yourself how it works.
- Add your twitter profile to your LinkedIn profile. That’s easy – just go to your LinkedIn profile, click on edit and add the URL where you see the line that asks for it. Generally, your Twitter profile is going to be http://www.twitter.com/yourprofilename. Mine, for example, is Twitter.com/TeleworkGuru. But when you create the profile Twitter will tell you the URL. Up until recently you could set up your tweets (that is what the things you post in Twitter are called – tweets) to automatically appear on your LinkedIn profile page. LinkedIn just stopped that last week. While it’s not saying so, the fact is that Twitter is getting more traffic than LinkedIn and so LinkedIn simply doesn’t want people going from its pages to Twitter pages by way of links on LinkedIn profiles. But you can still do it . What you do is post your tweets as your LinkedIn update. You can even post it to your LinkedIn groups too. Once you have a blog, you can set up a Twitter widget that will automatically bring in your tweets too. Look at the left sidebar of this page and you’ll see my @SeniorWellth Twitter widget.
- Start following important people in the industry in which you want to work – better yet, follow those who work at the company or companies at which you want to work. Most people – especially business people – very closely watch who follows them. That means they’re sure to go to your profile to see what you’re all about. At least eight times out of ten they will follow you back. That is very good, because then they keep seeing the very astute things you are saying about the industry, your knowledge of the industry and your interest in being in the industry. What could be better than reminding someone day after day that you’re smart, knowledgeable about their field and their firm, and perhaps available for hire? So, make sure you tweet at least one thing EVERY SINGLE DAY.
- Retweet what your followers are tweeting, when appropriate. Business people tweet to get noticed. They tweet to market themselves and their firm. If you retweet them you are marketing them while you are marketing yourself. Retweeting just means that you saw their tweet and you sent it to your followers. You’ re not stealing or plagiarising. It still is very clear that it came from them. Retweeting is very simple. Just click retweet under their tweet and away it goes – to all your followers. Those you retweet will see that you did that , so they take notice of you yet again, and they’ll be grateful to you for the additional marketing as well. Do it sparingly and wisely, however. If you want a job with ABC accounting firm, no need to retweet when ABC’s marketing manager tweets about his golf game being a little off today. But if he discusses the great new product X that his firm just launched, make sure you retweet that. Better yet, find out something about the product – perhaps there’s an online demo somewhere – and if you can legitimately see its value retweet something like, “ABC’s Product X looks to save time and money for local CFOs. Impressive! Here’s a video about it: .
- Use #. This hashmark is a sort and search method common to Twitter. It organizes topics, so that those who want to follow specific topics, and see what numerous folks are tweeting about it can collect them all in a running stream. For instance, if you, the accountant, heard about ABC Accounting’s annual Balance Bazaar conference going on now, you could see what everyone was saying about it on Twitter by searching by the hashtag the conference folks had assigned. It might be #BalanceBaz, for example. Or if you just want to search what everyone is saying about the firm you might try searching #ABCAccounting and see what turns up. This is also a great way to find out who is talking about accounting, to determine who is a big player in the industry, and a potential employer, or source of hiring info, training tips, ways to get in front of the right people, what jobs pay and so forth. Just try #accounting or #accountant and see what you find.
- Follow the followers of those you are following, and the followers of your followers. These might well be people with common interests as you, and further resources to virally market your interests and your credentials.
- Keep an eye on your messages. People can send a message to you by posting to everyone but putting @your profile name in the post. If someone said to me, “@TeleworkGuru, when is your next book coming out ?” everyone would see the message but would know it is for me. I could then post where everyone could see, “My New book, “Take this Job and Move it – Home” is due out by Nov.1, 2012.” If, however, someone wanted to send you a Twitter message that only you could see she would have to be following you and you following her, or it wouldn’t work. She would click on Message and send a message which only you could see. It’s easy to miss private messages, and in fact, a lot of them are spam. Unless you have no other way to reach someone, don’t rely on a private message, commonly referred to as DM (direct message) to reach that person. He or she might not ever see it.
- Register at TweetMyJobs.com. This is the best-known job search listing platform for Twitter, though it’s not the only one. Though primarily focused on the use of your smartphone to deliver job alerts, you can search and set up alerts and apply from the TweetMyJobs.com website via your laptop, tablet or PC too. Keep in mind, however, that if you give Twitter and TweetMyJobs access to your smartphone, you MUST have an account with your mobile carrier that gives you unlimited texting and emails. Neither of these firms are responsible for your overages, and neither will keep an eye on them for you. I’ve used TweetMyJobs to job hunt and have gotten dozens of job postings every 30 minutes. At that rate, if you had limited texting on your account you could end up with an enormous mobile carrier bill at the end of the month. It is soo handy, though. You go to the site, set up an alert for Accountant, Orlando for example, and then wait for the 140 character job announcements to arrive. You follow the link to the site where you view the details and perhaps even apply. (Not all smartphones have the capability of retaining your resume, however, but more and more companies are enabling a link to your LinkedIn profile in a job application. That’s all the more reason why your LinkedIn profile should include a complete job picture (or as complete as you want your prospective employer to see), recommendations, and even clips of your work if that’s applicable. More on that in another post.
- Set up a professional-sounding Gmail account for your job-hunt email. Gmail is a great tool because of its affiliation with Google. Not only is it free but it can tie into an online Google Calendar, Google Docs, Insightly contact management, and a Google Reader.
- Set up the Google Reader for your gmail account. Reader is an RSS system (Really Simple Syndication) which is a way that enewsletters and other online publishers deliver their enewsletters to you. If, for instance, you like the New York Times, and it’s your best source for the daily national news, you could go to Google Reader, and subscribe to The New York Times daily news enewsletter. You could even organize your reader. One category might be daily news, while another could be accounting, a third could be tax law, and the fourth financial fraud or some such. Each could have its own set of subscriptions. To set up a subscription, go to your Reader and click on Subscribe at the top of the left sidebar. Fill in the field with the keyword or phrase – in this case, New York Times. What you’ll see then are several hyperlinks. The graphic below shows some of what popped up when I did that:
You might want to subscribe to the first choice – Breaking News, though perhaps the one that is titled “Today’s Paper” would be your choice – or both. In this screenshot you’ll also get a glimpse of the organization. You’ll see that the first category I’ve created for my Google Reader is automotive (left sidebar.)
The Reader is important for Twitter because you have to have something to tweet about, don’t you? Going through your Reader each day will give you plenty to talk about, if you choose your subscriptions wisely. For that accounting job you might know of publications right off the top of your head, but if not, just do some keyword searching – CPA, accounting, cost accounting, bookkeeping, etc. You get the idea.
Three other great sources for tweet ideas, that are also useful for a blog once you create one, are Trove, BusinessWire and PRNewswire. Trove is a terrific service of the Washington Post Company. It lets you search for news, but it’s best service is the ability to set up your own Channels. You tell Trove the topics you want to hear news stories about and it delivers them by email daily – sorted by Channel. I use it religiously and I find blog posts, website pages and news articles I didn’t find by any other means. BusinessWire and PRNewswire deliver press releases. You can go to their sites and keyword search headlines or entire announcements for press releases on topics, sorting them by date. You can, for instance, search for every press release in the last 7 days whose headline included the words “financial fraud” ; you might instead, look for every press release for the last 30 days that had the name “Warren Buffett” anywhere in the release.
That’s about it for your job hunt start by way of Twitter. Once you have your profile name, a gmail account by the same or similar name, a Google Reader account with 10 or more subscriptions to give you something to talk about, set up your Twitter profile and start tweeting. Then start following and see who is following you. Get a conversation going, keep showing your interest and your expertise, and you’ll have a far better chance of landing that job than those competing with you who did nothing but fill out an application and hope for the best.
Once you have your first few tweets, your first few followers, and are following a few others, do NOT forget to put your Twitter profile at the top of your resume, with all your other contact information. That’s where your LinkedIn profile URL belongs as well.
Don’t get discouraged. It takes time, and effort to make this work, but it does pay off. And who knows, you might really enjoy it, and the opportunity to get to know other like-minded people. If you’re good at it, you just might find yourself in demand with firms in your chosen industry who need someone to tweet, blog and socially network fo rthem. As I said, it does work. I’m living proof. At 63 years of age, I’m landing jobs and clients at companies that bypassed the 20 and 30 and 40 somethings to hire me. I have companies come to me with job offers and contract offers and freelance work – because they see my social profile and they reach out to me instead of the other way around. I have more work than I can possibly handle. It’s not because I’m smarter or more educated. I’m not. I’m just somebody who markets myself socially. You can be too. This works.