Just two decades ago, job seekers pulled out the employment section of a newspaper and started circling job postings that interested them. Today, social media broadens the avenues at your disposable when seeking a job or career advice.
Twitter chats happen when a group of people all tweet about the same topic using a specific hashtag (#) that allows participants to follow it on the social media site Twitter. Some chats happen on a regular schedule such as weekly or biweekly, and are often led by experts in their fields. Some are more casual where participants share ideas or brainstorm solutions to problems.
If you don’t already have a Twitter account, creating one is easy. (Hint: If you are going to participate in job-related Twitter chats, you should avoid risqué or inappropriate screen names. You’re making a first impression, even in the virtual world.)
There are different types of chats to follow.
- Chats related to a specific career field, such as PR or nursing. These can give you an idea of whether you want to pursue a particular industry.
- Chats related to specific skills, such as learning Microsoft Excel.
- Chats related to the actual job search such as creating resumes and interviewing.
- Chats sponsored by employers that are looking for job candidates.
As you can imagine, there are thousands and thousands of hashtags. Finding Twitter chats to meet your needs may take some trial and error. There are a number of sites, such as http://tweetreports.com/twitter-chat-schedule/, where you can search by chat topic. The site also lists the chat hashtag, a description of what’s being discussed and the moderator’s Twitter username. By searching on the hashtag or following the moderator on Twitter, you can get a good idea if the information discussed will be useful in your specific job search.
- #Excelhelp is a weekly “help desk” chat for users with questions about Microsoft Excel.
- #OMCchat is a weekly chat led by recruiters who answer questions from job seekers about any job search topic.
- #CareerChat is a sporadic Twitter chat topic hosted by @CareerContessa. This moderator, however, Tweets regularly about job search topics.
You could also search on general hashtags, such as #jobsearch, #jobhunt, #jobopening, and #careerhelp, or play around with hashtag combinations such as #fashionjobs, #writingjobs or #techjobs. Some companies even have their own hashtag for job openings. For example, General Electric uses #GEJobs. Even local Goodwill organizations have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon to fill positions using the hashtag #Goodwilljobs.