As I continue along in my job search for an IT Staffing Recruiter position, I'm becoming more and more keen on the benefits of using Twitter.
Sure, plenty of people use Twitter in less-than-optimal ways, sharing the minutia of their daily lives to anyone who will listen. But I'm not talking about that kind of tweeting. I'm talking about a genius yet easy-to-use tool that can and should enhance any job search if used correctly.
First and foremost, Twitter is about giving before receiving. Sharing information that is of value to your followers will help you position yourself as "in the know," or even an expert. Perhaps you read an interesting article that got your attention - it might be about your profession, industry best practices, or a new technology. It only takes a minute or two to skim an article and forward on to your followers. If you do this a few times a week, you are providing value to your audience (remember: they have chosen to follow you so they are interested in what's going on in your world). Then when you need to ask for something, you'll be in a much better position to receive. Because you've given first, you'll have a more willing network.
Most industries have a presence on Twitter, so there are a multitude of groups you can join and follow. You'll start to recognize the Tweeps you most identify with and whose tweets you genuinely want to follow. Some of them will follow you back, others will not and that's okay. Once you've established a small following you can begin a reciprocal relationship of sharing and trading ideas. As you progress in your tweeting, your followers/following will increase and you'll build synergy and start to become part of a community.
And this is the point where Twitter breaks out of the "Yeah, it's okay" box and becomes extremely useful. You and your followers can hep each other network. You can LinkIn with each other and swap business leads or referrals. Even better, you can use Twitter to build buzz about your businesses.
To illustrate a real world scenario of this, I recently attended a free webinar that I heard about on Twitter (by @JoshuaWaldman and @CAREEREALISM). In the webinar, I learned about a new web application which aggregates job postings on Twitter and is searchable by keyword and location. I used this tool to find a recruiter job posting, then LinkedIn directly with the hiring manager and just spoke with him on the phone yesterday. If I hadn't been on Twitter and heard about the webinar, none of this would have happened. As an added bonus, I started following a handful of the other participants on the webinar and now consider them a part of my value added network.
Tweet responsibly and you will be pleasantly rewarded.