Shannon Lehotsky (SLehotsky) is a 2009 graduate of Emerson College, where I often speak to marketing and communications students. Last fall she contacted me to ask about ideas a new graduate could use to find a job. I gave her a few, but she went much farther that my advice. I got an e-mail from her last week about how she’s been leveraging Twitter to build a network and find work. The new crop of graduates who are set to hit the bricks in a couple of months could learn something from Shannon. The sentence in bold below is my own emphasis.
I’d like to share with you how Twitter has been helping me build my professional network (thanks to your advice!). I started when I moved to New York City after graduating in December, knowing no more than 5 people. I only had one or two job leads, so I pretty much had to start from the ground up:
– I created a new Twitter account and starting following industry professionals, job listings (@nyprjobs, @InternQueen), and industry publications (@Mashable).
– I started tweeting things relevant to my career to attract followers in the industry and make me develop a a brand as a thought leader.
– I avoided inappropriate or annoying tweets. On a few of my interviews, the interviewer mentioned that they looked at my Twitter account to learn more about me. (It seemed like a similar situation to Facebook, where a social platform is visible to professionals which can be detrimental to your career.)
– I joined the conversation! My goal was to get noticed, so I tried to keep all of my tweets thoughtful and relevant and directed to people so they weren’t just floating aimlessly in the Twitterverse. For example I’m following @EmersonAlumni, and they retweeted me once. I gained a few followers from that, including one fellow alum in New York City who put me in contact with another alum who was a job recruiter.
– A few people who I worked with previously would retweet job postings to me. Since it’s microblogging, a quick tweet isn’t too intrusive and it is less time-consuming than an e-mail.
– It is easier to find out people’s Twitter names rather than their e-mails. A quick tweet to a company to show that I was interested in them was sometimes the best way to contact people, especially smaller companies. It also shows that you are media savvy.
– Checking out Twitter accounts is also a good way to find out about company culture. When I applied for jobs, I would look them up on LinkedIn, Google, and then Twitter to see what topics they were talking about.
So those are just a few ways that Twitter has helped me to brand myself. I’ve found that sending out a resume is not enough to get a job in this market – networking is a necessity in the process and Twitter has definitely been helpful.
Job hunting has been a long process but I’ve accepted a job at a website (Lifebooker.com) and I’m excited to continue to work online.