How to Research a Great New Career: Tip #11: Six Ways to Leverage Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook
All three of the big players in the social media sphere, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, offer helpful tools for people looking to research career options and connect with “those in the know.” Learning how to use all the many features of these sites takes some time, but it is a worthwhile investment that can lead to a world of life-changing tools, connections and ideas.
As an example, let’s pretend that you have developed an interest in chocolate (I know this is a big stretch for most of you) and you want to explores ways to turn your devotion for chocolate into a career. You’ve done some preliminary investigation by gathering information from the Fine Chocolate Industry Association and networking at their Fine Chocolate Industry Association Cocktail Party (it’s for real, I can’t make this up!). You’ve made some interesting contacts, but you’d like to learn more, so you turn to the social media networking sites to expand your world of connections.
How can you quickly begin to do that? Here are six easy ways to engage social media as part of your career research endeavors:
- Post a question on Facebook, tweet a question on Twitter or post a question to your LinkedIn network: Keep your request simple and specific. For example, “I am exploring career opportunities as a food writer. Looking for recommendations of good training programs.” You never know who might be able to provide you with a very helpful suggestion. Try posting your question a few different times in order to maximize the number of people who will view your request in their news feed and/or Twitter stream.
- Become a fan of an industry-related group on person on Facebook: Type “chocolate” into the search box on Facebook and you’ll see that there are loads of chocolate-related groups (not surprisingly, these groups are very popular). Find a few that might be beneficial to follow and add them to your news feed to be automatically updated about exciting news and developments.
- Follow an industry guru, company leader or “person of interest” on Twitter: Every industry has their star performers, and these days, many of those people are sharing their thoughts on Twitter. Sign up for a Twitter account at Twitter.com (don’t worry, you don’t need to tweet in order to maintain your account) and then find interesting people to follow by using search directories like twellow.com or WeFollow.com. Here is an interesting article on 10 ways to find people to follow on Twitter.
- Join an industry-related group on LinkedIn: Go to the “Groups” tab and enter in the relevant keyword. Sticking with the chocolate theme, you could join the Gourmet Chocolate Industry Professionals Group, the Chocolatiers and Confectionary Business Professionals Group or any number of other options. Once you’re a member of a group, sign-up to receive automated updates so you’ll be kept informed about relevant events, training programs and news on a regular basis.
- Review the bios of industry-related personnel on LinkedIn: One of the many helpful features of LinkedIn is that you can learn about the career paths of people you admire (or wish to emulate) by reviewing their LinkedIn profiles. These profiles provide you with interesting insights into potential jobs, employers and career paths that you might not have previously considered.
- Search for jobs on LinkedIn or Twitter: Even if you are not actively seeking a job, reviewing the job postings on LinkedIn or Twitter can provide you with helpful information about the variety of ways people are actively working in that field and the types of skills needed for success. A book that can help you learn the specifics of job searching on Twitter is The Twitter Job Search Guide by Susan Whitcomb, Chandlee Bryan and Deb Dib.
BONUS TIP: Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter to stay abreast of all sorts of useful career reinvention advice and resources (most of which are “extras” I don’t routinely include in the blog). You’ll be glad you did!
Enjoy this post? Here are the rest of the tips in this series:
Tip #1: US Goverment Sites
Tip #2: Free Career Exploration Sites
Tip #3: YouTube.com (really!)
Tip #5: Industry Associations
Tip #6: Monitor the Magazines
Tip #7: Career Books
Tip #9: Go to an Event
Tip #10: Throw an Idea Party
Tip #12: Learn From the Job Boards
Tip #13: Test it Out!
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