Use Twitter for an Informational Interview!

Over the past couple of months, the word social media has consistently been mentioned and talked about in the news, especially its benefits in helping people find employment and connecting with people online.  We suggest to clients to setup a LinkedIn account and suggest using Twitter to build their professional network. These concepts can be a little tricky for someone just getting involved with social media and you cannot expect to grasp them over night, but hopefully the following information will help you start using Twitter for your job search.

Below is the definition of a traditional informational interview as per Webster’s Dictionary via Wikepedia.

An Informational Interview is a meeting in which a job seeker asks for career and industry advice rather than employment. The job seeker uses the interview to gather information on the field, and to find employment leads and expand

So if we were to break it down and think of the informational interview in terms of social media and specifically in terms of Twitter it would go something like this:

The idea behind twitter is to have followers, which would be people following what you said in your 140 character updates and you personally follow people and receive other people’s 140 character updates.  You search for people to follow using key word searches such as #Jobs or #Social #Media.  These searches would show you the latest people updating on these topics.  You could then click on their profile and search through to see if they have some interesting information to share.

Step 1:  Finding someone to follow = finding someone to have an informational interview with

In terms of the traditional informational interview, finding a follower is like finding people that are interested or involved in the same industry as you’re looking to do an informational interview about. The information you’re interested in could be labour market info, advice or upcoming events in your area.

Step 2:  Ask to follow = Hello my name is Matt, I’m a Career Counsellor…  (the informational interview introduction)

Just like an introduction used during an informational interview, you would ask to follow this person and he or she is then notified that you’re following their tweets; the more followers you have the better since the more people following you potentially means what you’re sharing will be read by more people.

Once you start following these people, you normally wait and watch for what information they might be sharing in regards to your shared interest. This concept is really exciting for your job search as you can learn more about your industry inCanadaas you may not be aware of the resources available to you.  The concept is that information will come to you more easily as opposed to you having to physically buy a paper, spend time reading it or hearing about a job fair through a flyer or some other traditional method of advertising.

Step 3: Instead of asking questions as you do during a traditional informational interview, when you use Twitter the interviewee provides information to you about their interests through there 140 character updates that come directly to you

If a person that you are following is offering a lot of information and tweeting regularly, then you can assume one important thing that the traditional informational interview doesn’t offer, which is that this person actually wants to connect and share information and almost 99% of the time will connect with you.

Step 4:  Ask your questions and get your answers = Ask your questions and get your answers

Let’s go to the most valuable part of the twitter informational interview, which is asking a question directly to get the information you need.  Depending on the individual, it’s nice to build a bit of a connection before directly connecting.  A key concept of twitter called re-tweeting is an important way to start building a connection with someone that you don’t know.  Re-tweeting in simple terms is taking information shared by someone you follow and then re-sharing it with people that are following you.  It’s like saying to someone you follow, “I really like what you’re sharing, so I thought I would share it with my network of followers.” It’s a form of praise or flattery.  Who doesn’t like to hear that their doing something good!

At this point, your potential target of information knows that you’re actively engaged in social networking and have similar interest and therefore now would be a great time to send them a direct message introducing yourself quickly and asking them any questions that you’re interested in gaining more information about.

Summary:

An informational interview using Twitter might look a bit different than what a traditional informational interview would look like, but it actually covers all the key points, which are:

Step 1:  Finding someone to have an informational interview with

Step 2:  The informational interview introduction

Step 3: Getting to know your target Interviewee

Step 4: Ask your questions and get your answers

It is possible to meet someone through Twitter, connect with them online, and then turn this on-line connection into an in person informational interview.

Using Twitter might have different outcomes, but by trying something different and looking at a traditional method of gathering information in a different way, you may be able to get the same results without having to physically meet someone at an event or through another contact, but still build a connection.

Our recommendation is to explore and have fun with it! For more information, please refer to the website www.hirecan.com