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In past issues of this column we’ve looked at how social media can provide a big boost to your job search (along with some risks). If you are a beginner, Twitter may be the platform to adopt as you dip your toes in the social media sea. Twitter can be learned quickly – there are a myriad of books and how to articles that can be referenced. Twitter, while it can be addictive doesn’t demand a huge commitment of time in order to see results. Because tweets are limited to 140 characters each, Twitter lends itself to short burst of conversational activity. Using Twitter fifteen or twenty minutes a day for four or five days a week should allow you to build up momentum in your job search.

Here are some things to consider when deciding on whether to jump on the Twitter train or not:

Companies are using Twitter to broadcast job opportunities. If you have targeted a company as a potential employer one of the first things you should do is to follow them on Twitter to see what type of information they are sharing with customers, clients and job-seekers. After following a company for a while you will get a good sense of their corporate culture and how often they have openings. Some companies only use social media to post their openings as they want to attract job-seekers who are already engaged with social media.

Twitter is chock-full of valuable advice for job seekers. Career experts freely offer advice and tips that can keep your job search on track. Hashtags (#) are used in Twitter to organize conversations. Searches for #InterviewTips #JobSearchTips #Jobseekers (and other hashtags) will yield fresh ideas and inspiration for your job hunt. There are other relevant hashtags as well, #YYJJobs and #BCJobs are used to tweet out job opportunities for Victoria (airport code YYJ) and BC. After using Twitter for a couple of weeks it will become obvious which hashtags you need to incorporate in your searches.

Twitter is an excellent tool for networking. By following industry leaders or key people at your target companies you can build relationships that will allow you to access the hidden job market. When you follow someone on Twitter you can learn about trends, opportunities and other insider information. By participating in discussions in an appropriate manner you can establish yourself as a credible individual. The Internet is full of success stories from people who got jobs by forging relationships in this way.

Job-seekers often complain that the shift towards companies using technology in the job search has depersonalized the process and made it difficult to connect with decision-makers. Twitter (and other social media) platforms are making it possible once again to build those relationships which are so vital to the job search.