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The Twitter Job Search Guide

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This groundbreaking book, from three leading career experts, shows readers how they can gain momentum in their job searches and careers through “tweets” that consist of fewer characters than a standard text message. Readers learn how to exponentially increase the size of their personal and professional networks by exchanging ideas, demonstrating subject-matter expertise, enhancing their reputation, and developing a “fan club.”

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CHAPTER 1 TWITTER IS WHAT YOU WANT IT TO BE

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“We defined a mere 1 percent of what Twitter is today. The remaining 99 percent has been, and will continue to be, created by the millions of people who make this medium their own, tweet by tweet.”

—Jack Dorsey, creator, cofounder, and chairman, Twitter, Inc., in his foreword to the book 140 Characters: A Style Guide for the Short Form by Twitter cofounder Dom Sagolla

There is no shortage of information at our fingertips today. It’s estimated that a week’s worth of content in The New York Times contains more information than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th century.

But with this superabundance comes conflicting advice, especially around job search. How do you find what you need to know, who you need to know, who needs to know YOU, and sort it all out?

In a word, Twitter.

Twitter is what you want it to be. It can be a one-stop shop for today’s job seekers or just a small but important strategy in your campaign. You get to decide how you will use it. There’s no one-size-fits-all Twitter strategy.

 

CHAPTER 2 TEN TRUTHS ABOUT TWITTER TO BENEFIT YOUR JOB SEARCH

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“The qualities that make Twitter seem inane and half-baked are what makes it so powerful.”

—Jonathan Zittrain

The truth about Twitter is that there are dozens of ways it can enhance your job search and career. In fact, you don’t even need a Twitter account to benefit from what it has to offer (although we highly recommend getting one).

Twitter is scalable, allowing you to participate as much or as little as you wish. You may choose to explore Twitter as a passive participant, becoming active as you begin to develop ideas for injecting Twitter into your job search. Here’s how passive and active participants can benefit:

Tip: Of course, not all job seekers have blogs, but having an active, information-rich blog is a great way to raise visibility within your industry and attract interest from recruiters and employers. As an alternative to writing your own blog, consider commenting on blogs relevant to your industry.

Whether you’re a passive or active user, you can find a style that works for you and solutions that will support and enliven your job search.

 

CHAPTER 3 FOR THE SKEPTICS

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Tweeting is not just for birds and nerds!

Do you remember a world without the Internet? Without Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube? Without text messaging? Without smart phones? Without instant connectivity?

All these technologies are about communication, yet many didn’t exist until just a few years ago. Facebook was founded in 2004, LinkedIn in 2002, and YouTube in 2005. Now all are household names and we can’t imagine doing life or business without them! Twitter is fast joining the ranks of these “indispensible” communication tools.

Jeff Pulver, Internet protocol pioneer and founder of the 140 Character Conference, says, “...the worldwide adoption of Twitter in various segments of society in the 21st century is as big as the introduction of the telegraph and/or telephone in the 20th century.... I believe the change we are experiencing is deep rooted.... Twitter provides a platform for people to listen, learn, and connect with others who share that common experience.”

Do you want to be left behind, or do you want to be among the millions using Twitter to share information and viewpoints while raising their visibility and building a following that attracts opportunities?

 

CHAPTER 4 HOW TWITTER DIFFERS FROM OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA

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“The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”

—Peter Senge

Social media has forever changed the way we receive and communicate information.

Unlike traditional media that is distributed through journalists and media conglomerates, social media can be disseminated through the general public—users like you and me. The broadcasting of information and opinion has been democratized.

This participatory process is a key characteristic of social media, a phrase that didn’t even exist a few years ago. Today, you have an equal voice in contributing to the overall dialogue and determining what will be hot or not.

THE TREND OF SOCIAL MEDIA? SPEED!

Never in the history of mankind has a trend reached such large numbers so quickly.

See the video “Did You Know?” at www.mixx.com/videos/2969509/youtube_did_you_know for more fascinating details like this compiled by Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod, and Jeff Bronman.

In June 2009, Twitter earned the honor of a Time magazine cover, the equivalent of a gold medal in popular culture, with its story on “How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live.”

 

CHAPTER 5 TWITTER SECRETS FROM SUCCESSFUL JOB SEEKERS

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“Twitter’s going to become more and more valuable as a job-hunting tool because you can build up a job-search network in an afternoon and effectively create a whole self-presentation in the Twittersphere. And anywhere there’s a place for lots of people to network and talk and share interests, the opportunities will follow.”

—Rodney Rumford, cofounder, TweetPhoto; author, Twitter as a Business Tool*

We’ve said it already: Twitter can help you land your next job and manage your career. In this chapter, you’ll learn how successful job seekers used Twitter to navigate their job search process—and to come out on top in a challenging economy.

Before we begin, let’s dispel several myths about using Twitter for your job search.

Myth-buster: There’s no “one size fits all” rule for using Twitter for your job search. Use the best approach that fits your needs. (It’s also up to you as to when and how you disclose that you are actively seeking employment.)

Myth-buster: Nonsense! Employers and hiring managers across industries and professions—from the National Hockey League to Tasty D’Lite—are finding new ways to integrate Twitter into their communication strategies.

 

CHAPTER 6 EMPLOYERS ARE GOOGLING YOU: A CRASH COURSE ON MANAGING YOUR ONLINE IDENTITY

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Featured experts: Kirsten Dixson, online identity expert and coauthor of Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand (@kirstendixson) and Robyn Greenspan, Editor-in-Chief of ExecuNet (@RobynGreenspan)

“Today, if you don’t show up in Google, you don’t exist. Whether you are applying for a new job, being considered for a board position or trying to get a date, you can count on being googled. So knowing what Google says about you and proactively managing your personal brand online is critical to success.”

William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson, coauthors, Career Distinction

You’ve heard that—at some point during the job search process—hiring managers, recruiters, and future colleagues will be typing your name into Google or their favorite search engine. Your search results may determine whether a recruiter reaches out to you, a networking contact goes to bat for you, or an employer extends an offer. Given the extent to which people use search engines as research tools today, building and managing your identity online has become a critical component of your ongoing career marketing efforts.

 

CHAPTER 7 YOUR BRAND AND TWITTER

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“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”

—Tom Peters in Fast Company (1997)

In 1997, Tom Peters’ iconic article “The Brand Called You” appeared in Fast Company magazine. That revolutionary article is commonly thought to have kicked off the personal branding revolution. Fast-forward more than 10 years. Personal branding is now mainstream. So is social media (but it wasn’t even a blip on the radar back in 1997). And so is Twitter.

In this chapter, you’ll learn the following:

Although it might feel like this sequence of chapters on branding is not related to Twitter, we promise you, it is! We’ll tell you why.

We like to think that personal branding, job search, and social media go together like peanut butter, jelly, and Wonder Bread. It’s hard to imagine that squishy, satisfying sandwich without one of those ingredients. It just wouldn’t deliver the same comfort-food experience.

 

CHAPTER 8 TEN STEPS TO MINING, DEFINING, AND REFINING YOUR BRAND

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The four brand elements we defined in chapter 7 cannot exist without a clear understanding of your brand. It’s a journey that needs to be made. It’s one of the most critical components of career success. Identifying your brand and tying it to your career is a maze with twists, turns, and dead ends. But there’s also a prize at the end: the golden key to your career.

You do double duty when you clarify your brand. The elements can be used throughout your communications—resumes, Twitter bio, networking conversations, interviews, salary negotiations, and so on. Here are 10 steps that will help take your personal marketing message from “bland to brand” and from “which? to pitch!”

Take stock. Ask yourself some of these “inside-out” (meaning how you see yourself) questions. (You’ll ask outside-in questions—how others see you in regard to reputation and performance—in Step 2).

Ask others the same questions for critical outside-in feedback. A great tool for this is the 360Reach, a reputational (as opposed to performance-based) outside-in feedback assessment. (See “Branding Resources to Dig Deeper” at the end of chapter 9 for more information.)

 

CHAPTER 9 YOUR BRANDED VALUE PROPOSITION (BVP)

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Featured Contributor: Mark Hovind, founder of JobBait.com and a pioneer in using branded value propositions to create powerfully brief cover letters (@MarkHovind).

“There is only one way...to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it.”

—Dale Carnegie

What does it take to get the attention of a decision maker? Ironically, it’s the thing that is usually missing from most resumes, cover letters, elevator pitches, and even Twitter Bios/Twitpitches. The answer? It’s the one-two punch of a value proposition tied to a personal brand—in other words, a branded value proposition.

Need to Know: A Branded Value Proposition, or BVP for short, answers the employer’s question, “What’s in it for me?” with a clear, concise, and compelling message that expresses tangible benefits from your services. You deliver that benefit via your brand.

A BVP is the core of your career, your trigger for Twitter, and the secret weapon most job seekers ignore (or just don’t know about). It ties your past to your potential, your talent to your target, and your deeds to dollars; and it predicts that you can do it again.

 

CHAPTER 10 SOUND BITES WITH TEETH: WRITING YOUR 160ME™ TWITTER BIO

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Featured expert: Laura Allen, cofounder, 15secondpitch.com (@la15secondpitch)

“...with your audience drowning in more noise than ever, cutting your message to fortune-cookie length may be the best chance you have at getting their attention.”

—John Tozzi in “The Escalator Pitch,” Businessweek.com *

Imagine two college students who have an idea for an online information portal. They have no experience running a company or startup. They need funding and they need investors. How will they attract interest?

With these famous eight words: “Access to the world’s information in one click.” With those eight words, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google, pitched a vision and got a listen. The rest is history.

As a job seeker, you need the same powerful simplicity. You don’t get the luxury of ambiguity. You don’t get to muddle through an elevator pitch or job interview if you want to get hired. You need to know, in precise, value-rich terms, your “eight words”—or, in the case of Twitter, your 140 to 160 characters. In this chapter, we’ll outline the steps to create those critical characters that will appear in your Twitter bio.

 

CHAPTER 11 WHAT’S IN A NAME: CHOOSING TWITTER ACCOUNT SETTINGS TO BOOST YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE

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Featured Contributor: Susan P. Joyce, president of NETability, Inc., and editor/publisher of Job-Hunt.org (@JobHuntOrg)

“The new resume is what employers find online about you.”

Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute?, in a Career Coach Academy interview with Susan Whitcomb

Employers and recruiters are turning to search engines more and more frequently to find candidates, especially in a down economy. Why? It’s free, it’s fast, and it’s easy.

Finding a candidate via a search of Google, Yahoo!, or Bing can save a recruiter thousands of dollars in fees that would normally be paid to job boards for the privilege of sifting through their database of job seekers. One recruiter we interviewed for this book mentioned dropping his $6,000-per-year subscription to a major job board in favor of using free or low-cost vehicles such as Twitter and LinkedIn.

By leveraging search engine optimization (SEO) techniques in Twitter, you make it easier for employers and recruiters to find you—both on Twitter and in general searches of the Internet. This chapter walks you through setting up your Twitter account settings to make the most of SEO.

 

CHAPTER 12 BRANDING YOUR TWITTER ACCOUNT WITH A CUSTOMIZED BACKGROUND

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Featured Contributor: Sue Brettell, UK-based personal brand identity designer, of www.id-creativesolutions.com (@SueBrettell)

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

A strong visual identity helps to establish you in people’s minds, communicate your personal brand, and show your creativity. It should be applied consistently to all your brand communications: your Web site, blog, bio, resume (for example, in your choice of font or appropriate use of accent colors), and social media strategies, including Twitter.

We asked Sue Brettell, known internationally for her talent in aligning design with personal branding, to coauthor this chapter. She’ll guide you through how to customize your Twitter background. (We’re also proud to say that she has designed each of our Twitter backgrounds; view them at www.twitter.com/SusanWhitcomb, www.twitter.com/chandlee, and www.twitter.com/CEOcoach.)

Sue shared that one of Twitter’s great advantages for promoting your personal brand is the ease with which you can make it your own by using a unique, customized background. It stands head-and-shoulders above other social networking media in this regard.

 

CHAPTER 13 THE ART OF FOLLOWING AND BEING FOLLOWED

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“The way of the world is meeting people through other people.”

—Robert Kerrigan

Twitter is a community in which tweets are posted and read by “followees” and “followers.”

If you’re using Twitter to actively build your brand, post thought leadership, raise your visibility, and be considered as a potential candidate for posted and hidden opportunities, you need a network of followers. Period. When you post a tweet, your tweet will be carried in Twitter’s ongoing stream of live tweets and will also be sent to all of your followers’ streams. Twitter is a conduit that connects people, information, and opportunities. To make that happen, you need to actively attract a stream of followers.

“Tweeting” on Twitter without followers reminds us of the classic question: If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, does it really make a sound?

Let’s get ready to make some noise!

Need to Know: We went to Twitter’s FAQ portal to help us explain the concept of followers. Here is what we read, quoted directly from the source:

 

CHAPTER 14 HOW TO SPEAK IN TWEETS: THE LANGUAGE AND STYLE OF TWITTER

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Yada, yada, yada. The iconic phrase made popular in the Seinfeld series is what you don’t want associated with your Twitter account. Equivalent to blah, blah, blah, it speaks of mundane details that are of no importance or consequence. As a job seeker casting out messages to engage an employer, your mantra needs to be “content, content, content.”

In this chapter, you’ll learn how to write tweets worthy of a second mention (otherwise known as a “retweet”). We’ll also share the following:

We can recall our first few days on Twitter. At first, we thought @ and # symbols might be typos. Then we saw them everywhere and taught ourselves what they meant. We’ve created sidebars of Twitter terminology and Twitter shorthand to save you time and frustration. You can also visit http://help.twitter.com/forums/10711/entries for helpful tips on getting started.

These are the most common Twitter terms:

Note: To delete a tweet, highlight the trashcan icon at the bottom of the message footer. You will then be prompted with an “Are You Sure?” message. Click yes.

 

CHAPTER 15 THE ART AND SCIENCE OF THE RETWEET

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“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

—C.C. Colton

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then retweets are the highest form of praise you can find on Twitter. A retweet provides your virtual stamp of recognition: It says “I think this tweet is important and I recommend that people read it.” A retweet of someone else’s tweet shows that you are engaged and interested in the subject matter.

When exploring ways to actively use Twitter, the importance of retweeting is a nobrainer. Retweeting showcases your willingness to share the ideas of others, allows you to quickly distribute news or items of interest that engage you, and lets you to do so in 90 seconds or less.

Need to Know: Executing a retweet (or RT for short) using Twitter’s retweet button is similar to—and as simple as—forwarding a favorite e-mail along to your primary list of contacts.

Since Twitter’s launch in 2006, the retweet has been a popular favorite of users—a simple RT in the status update box followed by an @username alerted users to the original source of content and shared tweets worth a second (or hundredth look). In fall 2009, Twitter officially recognized the RT’s popularity by adding new functionalities, including the ability to RT with a click of a button and customizable options that let users decide whose retweets they wanted to see in their own Twitter streams.

 

CHAPTER 16 TWEETER BEWARE: STAYING OUT OF LEGAL HOT WATER

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“Twitter fans, listen up: Your ‘tweets’ could land you or your employer in legal hot water.”

—Tresa Baldas, staff reporter, the National Law Journal (law.com)

The use of Twitter and other social media platforms opens a legal Pandora’s box for employers, employees, and the general job-seeking public. Questions such as the following arise:

The answer to all of these questions is a resounding yes!

We know you don’t want to lose a job offer or put your current job in jeopardy because of a “tweet gone bad.” This chapter will provide you with best practices for keeping yourself—and your reputation—safe from harm through the eyes of an employer.

Social media presents many new wrinkles for the courts to consider—from privacy to self-disclosure. A November 2009 feature story on CNN asks the question, “Can the law keep up with technology?” Legal experts say it’s not easy because it’s difficult to predict technological innovations—and how the public will react to and use new services. Andrea Matwyshyn, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, researches issues at the intersection of law and technology and says that the law is generally “at least five years behind technology as it is developing.”

 

CHAPTER 17 JOB SEARCH ADVICE FROM THE TRENCHES

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“Insight, I believe, refers to the depth of understanding that comes by setting experiences, yours and mine, familiar and exotic, new and old, side by side, learning by letting them speak to one another.”

—Mary Catherine Bateson

Now that you’ve mastered Twitter’s essentials, it’s time to turn your attention to job search, Twitter style. Recall the PB&J metaphor from chapter 7 and how personal branding, job search, and social media go together. If you’ve got your personal branding and social media/Twitter strategies in place but don’t pair them with solid job search strategies, you’ll be missing a key ingredient!

Our job search clients have taught us what works, and what doesn’t, especially during tough times. They, and the successful job seekers you met in chapter 5, played by rules dictated in the current economy.

Tip: We realize that the depth and breadth of information in this book may be intimidating or overwhelming. We don’t want you stalled in inaction because it all seems like “just too much.” For this reason, we’ve given you an array of simple “jump-start” strategies in this chapter to keep you focused during your search.

 

CHAPTER 18 RECRUITERS REVEAL JOB SEARCH SECRETS

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“You’re only as good as the people you hire.”

—Ray Kroc

Where can I find lists of recruiters? How do I work with recruiters? Who can connect me with recruiters? Why won’t recruiters call me back? Why do recruiters want to talk with me only when I’m employed? Why didn’t the recruiter answer my e-mail?

These are some of the most common questions we hear, on Twitter and in our practices. For job seekers, the world of the recruiter (sometimes called a headhunter, and not to be confused with an employment agency) is shrouded in mystery and frustrating to job seekers. And recruiters are sometimes just as frustrated when job seekers don’t “get” how they work—their first priority is the company that hired them to find the proverbial needle in the haystack, not the job seeker.

You’ll find an insider’s list of recruiters on Twitter in chapter 28, but that doesn’t mean we think you should start off by sending a direct message or an @reply and ask for a job. Quite the contrary: In the Twitterverse, as in life, relationships take time. So we asked for their advice to job seekers on the search process and Twitter.

 

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