Twitter is becoming a popular tool for communication. It’s also becoming very big for internet marketing professionals, and for good reason. Twitter is a great way to get a message out. The short, easily digestible microblogging format means that users can broadcast links and messages all over the web.
But how is Twitter applicable to a job search? Well, let’s say that you are on the lookout for a sales position somewhere in Florida. Twitter makes it easy to find and connect to potential employers or contacts. Just be sure that you keep a job search twitter account separate from your personal account if you have one. Your personal twitter account should not include your full name, but if it does, make sure that everything visible in your posts is appropriate.
Start by using Twitter’s search function to find out who is tweeting about sales in Florida. Look for Florida companies you may want to work for as well. Then, add the people who are talking about your hot topics to the list of people you follow. This works in two ways. First, it allows you to get a feed on people who are talking about your industry. Maybe they’ll mention a position, or a career fair. Maybe they have spoken to a recruiter for a company you’d like to work for. The other way this can help you is that these people will likely follow you back, and if they’re in a position to hire someone, they may see a post you’ve written, and contact you.
Once you’ve built up a good list of people to follow in your industry, start a free blog, and make some posts about your job search. Add your resume, or information about yourself to your blog. You can then use twitter to share these posts to your contacts. Build up a nice history of posts and tweets that establishes who you are, and what you can do.
The final and most important step in using twitter as a job search tool is to actively look for the people who may be able to help you. Employees of a company, hiring managers, or even the president may be available on twitter. It’s possible to contact these people directly, so don’t be afraid to contact them. Keep your post brief (you have to in Twitter), and even include a link to your blog post or website containing your resume. Be sure not to become a spammer, though. Persistence may work in your favor, but there’s a fine line between diligence and annoyance.
Remember also that twitter is only a piece of a huge social networking puzzle. Don’t rely on just one tool for finding people and networking with them. Explore other types of social media on the web, and remember that there is no replacement for old fashioned job search techniques like visiting companies in person. No matter how charming you are online, if you can’t ace the interview, you won’t get the job.
If you have found yourself looking for a job in the past couple years, you are probably all too familiar with the frustration that usually accompanies the search. People with jobs will give you advice—they’ll tell you to update your resume, rearrange your resume, make your cover letter more personal but shorter, more informative but more concise, do more networking and less searching, do more searching and less emailing…you get the idea. The point is, you can follow these “tips” until you’re blue in the face, but what it usually comes down to is who you know. In fact, a recent statistic noted that nearly 80% of job positions filled in the last year were given to those with a personal referral.
If you’re thinking your search is now hopeless because you’ve already tapped into all of your personal referral resources, think again. With the ease of networking via the internet, there are several networks you can use not only to find connections you already have, but also to make new connections, so your personal connection well will never run dry. Almost anyone who has used the internet to help with their job search and networking will be familiar with Facebook and Twitter, but let’s take a look at few other sites, with a more professional twist, that will give you a leading edge in your efforts.
Plaxo: As far as keeping up with your contacts, Plaxo is your one-stop-shop. Not only does it store all of the contacts from your phone and computer, but it also tracks updates from your contacts from their Twitter and Facebook feeds, so you know what’s going on in their lives before you get in touch. This is especially helpful if you’re reaching out to an old friend or ex co-worker about a prospective job. It will help take away the “cold call” feel and help you get back in the loop quickly so you can get right to what matters.
Ecademy: This tool allows you to connect with other users on a business and social level. Essentially the “business happy hour” of the web, you can connect with people based on business connections you already have, as well as find groups of people who are interested in the same topics as you. For job searchers, this can be a great way to make real connections based on business concepts while getting your name and needs out there to people who trust you.
ZoomInfo: If you need to know more about the people within a company you’re interested in, ZoomInfo is a great source for you. It has been around for over 10 years and holds a database with the information of thousands of professionals. In addition, recruiters often use this site to find potential job candidates, so whether you know how to use it or not, it is always beneficial to set up a profile.
Xing: This is another tool geared towards gathering professionals in a social environment. However, for people looking for a job, this is a great site to join, as it has systems in place which specifically encourage social networking. Not only are there forums and discussion groups, which are always beneficial for job seekers, but there are also appointed “ambassadors” for each community with a decently sized constituency which then hold “events” which allow for the participation and communication of other members.
Whether you use one or all of these helpful technologies, the main idea is to get your name out there and build trust surrounding your name. While these tools help, there is no substitute for hard work and honest time spent, so get out there and make it happen for yourself. You might even end up with more than a job; you might just find your purpose.
Let’s face it – legal or not, discrimination is still alive and well in the job market. While most forms of discrimination are illegal, when there are many qualified applicants for a job, certain things may knock you out as a candidate even before you have a chance to prove yourself. Here are some of the types of discrimination job seekers face, and how you can combat them.
Family – To put it bluntly, married applicants with children are something of a liability. They take more time off work, expect to earn more, need more insurance, and often place their priority on family, rather than career. While there’s nothing wrong with that, if an employer is forced to choose between a married, and unmarried applicant, it’s an easy choice as far as money is concerned. Make sure that you keep all family information as private as possible in an interview. Employers can’t legally ask your marital status, so don’t volunteer anything you don’t have to. Force them to choose based on merit, rather than on convenience.
Gender – There is a lot of gender discrimination going on in the workplace, but not in the way many would assume. Sometimes an employer will bring their own preconceptions into an interview. For example, some employers prefer female employees because they’re viewed as more personable, dependable, and statistically, women are less likely to ask for raises. Some employers prefer male employees, because they think they will be more aggressive, and more willing to take charge of projects. If possible, show up to the interview early, and try to meet a few people in the office if anyone is accessible. Get a feel for the gender mix and the personality type of the employees that already work there, and do your best to project that personality in the interview.
Age – Young or old, there are a lot of hang-ups employers have in regard to age. Every employer wants someone who’s there to work long-term, because training a new employee is an expensive investment. If you’re very young, you may not have much experience, but what the interviewer will really be looking for is you potential anyway. They may not be keen on hearing that you intend to return to college, or that you are planning on getting married soon – these are all things that could make you leave. Never volunteer more information about your personal life than absolutely necessary. Also, if you are reaching social security age, make it clear that this *is* your retirement, and that you have no plans to stop working any time soon.
Education – Often, a college degree means absolutely nothing in terms of how prepared you are for a job, but it does show that you are educated, not to mention able to make it through four years of disciplined study. Those without a degree will have to work twice as hard to seem more educated than their degreed peers, and that means going the extra mile. If you don’t have a degree, make sure your resume includes plenty of relevant educational experience, like managerial training, classes you’ve taken, and specific work training courses. It may also help to work with a public speaking coach for a few sessions, in order to help you articulate yourself well, and maybe even quash a strong dialect, if you have one. Dress is also important. Having an off-the-rack suit tailored for you is a cheap and good way to look well put together. If you look affluent and successful, it will help remove the stigma that those without a college degree are doomed to be stuck in blue collar jobs.
Regardless of the job you’re looking for, do your research. Get a feel for the company, and try to look at as many current employees as you can. Try to find any common threads between them, and use that to your advantage. If nothing else, the more you look like you already belong in the office, the easier it will be for the employer to imagine you as part of the team.
With the advent of online employment services such as monster.com, careerbuilder.com and job-hunt.com, more people than ever can be applying for fewer and fewer jobs. How can you create a resume that will stand out in this sea of hopefuls? Follow this list of “musts” to ensure your resume stands out.
Summarize your career achievements and experiences at the top of the resume. Human resource people receive sometimes hundreds of resumes to fill one position. Don’t make them hunt for the meat of your work. Create a snappy, one paragraph summary that captures the essence of your strengths and experience to be the first thing that is read. Make it creative and enticing, luring them to want to know more about you. Follow it up with a keyword, bulleted list. This will catch the employer’s eye, as well as, a keyword scanning machine.
Be timely. In this very competitive job market, potential employers want to know your latest and greatest experiences and strengths. While they will be looking at our college degrees and educational experiences, they will want to know what was your last greatest achievement, and how it relates to what they are looking for. Keeping everything fresh and timely will catch their eyes far more than listing all the things you did ten years ago that helped get you to where you are today.
Include all your experiences, even if they weren’t job related. Sometimes employers look for a well-rounded prospect, someone who has taken time to volunteer with a local nonprofit, or community organizing for your neighborhood. All relevant experience will show them your potentials for doing great work for them. This works especially well for entry-level jobs!
Put the most important information that is most relevant to the work first. Don’t make them hunt for what they are looking for. Human resource people don’t have time to read through every resume they get. Help them by showing them first and foremost what you have that they want. Even if it was done a while ago, you can create a “highlights” box on the front page and add your accomplishment there.
Be positive in your language. You don’t want to overdo, but you can certainly put a much more positive spin areas where you lack certain skills or have not completed your education. Instead of, “no experience” say “willing to learn anything needed to get the job done.” Or, focus on what your expertise is in.
Personalize every cover letter. There is nothing colder or less attractive to an HR director than getting a stale, canned letter. Don’t be afraid to personalize it with your own character. Instead of, “I would be willing to work extra hours,” say, “I have never been able to change the earth’s orbit, but I would try for you.” Have fun, be personable and research the company’s mission statement to align your letter with it.
Edit, edit, edit. There is nothing worse than sending out a resume or cover letter with typos or grammatical errors. When in doubt, ask a second set of eyes to look it over and comment.