Probably the question should be, â€œIs there REALLY value in job search chats on Twitter?â€ The knee jerk response by most casual Twitter users is a resounding â€œNo!â€ For those at the other end of the spectrum there is an almost addictive property of Twitter that lures people into the false expectation that swallowing this one pill will cure all ills. The obvious truth lies somewhere between those two extremes, but the missing factor is always some unknown element that has to do with individual needs relative to an extremely dynamic medium. Therein lies the clue to reality: there is no single all encompassing answer just as there is no best way to conduct a job search. It is always, always, always personal. Advice from any perspective can be misleading if it doesnâ€™t fit the personal need. The only universal answer to this question is that those who dismiss it with cynicism and those who religiously drink the Kool-Aid will both miss the pointâ€¦ and any benefit.
Maybe there could an objective approach to online conversations about a job search. Remembering that open minded listening, assessment, questioning, and decision making are personal choices, this job search tool requires detailed planning just like all the others.
- Objectives: Why am I doing this? â€“ There is anecdotal evidence of people finding work through Twitter chats, but the number of actual jobs offered/accepted through this medium is miniscule compared to other sources. Ignoring this reality will lead to disappointment and disillusionment about the process. It may sound a bit selfish to go in with an attitude â€œWhatâ€™s in it for me?â€ but determining that first is the best way to be able to listen to the needs of others.
- Data Gathering: What am I hearing? â€“ Most Twitter chats have an agenda that is necessary to keep the flow of dialog moving during a specified time frame. Chat moderators will tell you it is a little like herding cats. Online in a finite time period defined by others is not a very good ground for sowing your own seeds of needs. Using this forum as a means to contact others fertilizes network cultivation and takes the conversation offline into a more personal and useful reference.
- Analysis of Data: Is the information I am receiving real? â€“ Just as you must have an agenda for meaningful participation, everyone else in the chat has an agenda too. Some are true job seeker advocates and are giving away valuable advice for free. Others are on an ego trip using this forum to make themselves seem more relevant than they are. Even the most sincere comments are usually from only one perspective, so matching the advice received to the personal objective is the only way that this is meaningful.
- Follow-up: What are next steps? â€“ The dialog is not over when the time expires on the chat. Continuing that discussion by phone or by handshake makes it personal and lasting. Following the Twitter accounts of those you trust and engaging them one-on-one takes it to the next level. Remembering to say â€œThank Youâ€ is not just a nice thing to do, it defines your online persona to others. Finally, donâ€™t forget to pay it forwardâ€¦ the most valuable advice to new job seekers is from those who just concluded a successful job search.
There is more to come. This topic was prompted by decisions arising from the other side of the chat wall: â€œIs it worthwhile to sponsor or moderate a job search chat?â€
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