50+ job seeker? Tweet your way to a new career

June 17, 2011

Most older job hunters are comfortable with basic business technology— computers, the Web, email and smart phones. But we still have some Luddites out there – you know who you are – trying to squeak by, hoping to finish their working years without getting fluent in technology.

That’s especially true of social media tools like LinkedIn and Twitter, which can play a big role in helping job hunters find new work in a hard-times economy.

“The first time I looked at Twitter, I thought ‘what is this thing?’,” says Lee Silverstein, who is transitioning to a new career at age 50, following 29 years in management jobs with major department stores — most recently Macy’s, where he focused on training and leadership development.

Silverstein didn’t think of himself as a writer with something to say online, but he jumped in anyway with a blog and Twitter account.

“When I started the blog, I saw that I did have something to say, and I started sharing my thoughts,” he says. In a short time, Silverstein has built an audience of 600 followers for his tweets and blog posts on leadership development and mentoring. “It’s about making yourself findable,” he says. “Just sitting and going through the job boards won’t get you where you want to be. You’ve got to give people a reason to discover you.”

In a tough job market, it’s hard to overstate the importance of networking, differentiating yourself and highlighting the value you can bring to an employer. Social media platforms offer some important means to those ends through sharing expertise and making new connections. But older job hunters can be at a competitive disadvantage.

“I dont think it’s a factor of age alone – it’s a comfort level using the tools,” says Miriam Salpeter, a job search and social media coach, and author of Social Networking for Career Success: Using Online Tools to Create a Personal Brand. “People who don’t enjoy social media don’t want to feel they will be sucked in, and tied down by it all the time. And with Twitter, some just don’t think they can communicate a full thought in 140 characters. I find that it helps to have targets and goals to use these things well.”

Sharing expertise can be as simple as sharing a link to a relevant article or webpage alongside your own comment, or answering a question in a LinkedIn forum.

But at a more basic level, using social media can help you to get past doubts hiring managers may have about you as an older applicant. “If you are using LinkedIn, have a blog and you’re on Twitter, it’s going to be hard for people to assume that you can’t learn new things,” Salpeter says.

Silverstein – a coaching client of Salpeter’s – agrees. “There’s a perception out there that once you hit a certain age you give up on technology. People over 50 looking to transition into a new career or grow a business need to shake that off. Take the time to make yourself relevant.”

Salpeter views LinkedIn as the “must have” tool for every job seeker, but Twitter is her favorite platform – mainly because its networking features aren’t built around personal introductions or recommendations. “It’s so open,” she says. “You find out things about people, mentors and colleagues without needing an introduction. “You don’t need an intermediary to find out what people are doing.

Salpeter likes to tie it all together via a “social resume” – a personal website with your name in the domain name that showcases expertise and hubs together all your social media profiles. (See Lee Silverstein’s site for an example.)

She also encourages job hunters to jump into Twitter chats to share ideas and tips with other job hunters and experts, and to expand networks. A current favorite is the hashtag #jobhuntchat, one of the largest regular chat groups on Twitter devoted to job search. The group convenes every Monday evening at 10p.m. EST.

Salpeter cautions job seekers that social media won’t necessarily produce immediate results. “It’s not an overnight endeavor,” she says. “But sometimes it just takes one person to land a job.”

3 comments

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Is it any wonder we have become such a divisive non-productibe society, we are all too consumed with tweeting, blogging, facebooking and so on deluding ourselves that anyone really gives a damn about what we have to say or what we are going to do on a specific day. That said, it’s time to get off this blog and get some real work done.

Posted by seattlesh | Report as abusive

I disagree with previous comment: Many people have things to say that are interesting and worth reading. Not, however, what they’re doing on some day, (don’t like 4square reports) but their thoughts and insights. I totally agree with the message on this blog text.

I’m fifty and have always been interested in the Social Media as a tool to learn more about my area of expertise and other news that are related to my hobbies (golf and scuba).

Now I’m starting up my own company after a long career and the help + support I get from people in Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn of whom some are virtually unknown to me, is incredible.

I recommend to everyone, find some guru’s to listen to or follow, then you will see that people REALLY have something to say!

Posted by JaanaNystrom | Report as abusive

[...] Comment: 50+ job seeker? Tweet your way to a new career [...]

“In a tough job market, it’s hard to overstate the importance of networking, differentiating yourself and highlighting the value you can bring to an employer.”
How to do it?
How to empower yourself in job search? How to optimize your job search and resume to 2011′s market realities? How to increase your resume response rate and get more interviews? Why strategies that worked in your last job search aren’t working today? Many job seekers question themselves.
How to use social media to be 50+ professional who often are overqualified, how making yourself findable there?
Social media are great tools, but how to use them to find a job?
Resume Revolution give the answer for all this questions.
Mr Phil Rosenberg; President reCareered and Career Central Group moderator in LinkedIn he teaches how to present yourself, how using this tools. I am 50+ I use all new technologies to help myself in my profession, in my business but if you want to learn something more go to webinar: http://www.ResumeWebinar.com
Why? This opened my eyes: How important it is to build your image in media for everyone (not only for job seekers for whom this webinar is recommended).
(http://recareered.com/ is a top 30 job search information website and career coaching service. He helps talented candidates break through the challenges of modern job searches, by helping job seekers/career changers get noticed – through free resources, group webinar coaching and personalized one-on-one help).

Posted by edjaworska | Report as abusive

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