TipsWith June fast approaching and the flurry of college graduates about to saturate the job market, job seekers need to be savvy to compete. College graduates don’t always fall in the young and inexperienced category. Many are adults with career experience returning to school for higher education.

These next two tips may be of particular interest to college graduates of all ages as well as job seekers with a range of experience.

Use Twitter to network. Believe it or not, some of the best networking opportunities today are happening on Twitter. Hashtag “hiring” was tweeted 1 million times MORE in 2013 than it was in 2012 (source: Rachael Horwitz, Twitter’s Communications Director).

Twitter Tips: 

     Get started! Create a handle that includes your name if at all possible. Build your profile with a professional photo and bio that defines your professional attributes.

     Follow companies. Similar to LinkedIn, you can follow companies you are interested in, as well as thought leaders and influencers. You can broaden your reach by checking out (and maybe following) people your influencers follow.

     “Favorite” a tweet. Did you know that when you “favorite” someone’s tweet, Twitter sends that person a notice and immediately puts you on their radar.

     Join a tweet chat. Check hashtags on topics of interest, industry trends, etc., and you will find tweet chats you can join. These can act like informal networking events. Be sure to follow up with individuals of interest after the chat with a direct tweet.

Selena Larson knows how this works. She used Twitter to land her job at a tech news site

Build experience. If you are a college grad or an experienced job seeker changing industries or job focus, or unemployed, building experience is essential. The good news is that almost half of the hiring managers today consider volunteer work as legitimate work experience. A little known fact is that many companies advocate pro bono work and encourage their employees to donate their time and skills. Toyota of North America is one such company.

There are many ways you can volunteer and help charities. Think about the skills you’ve developed through your schooling and work experience, and how those may be of value to a local project or non-profit organization.

Don’t forget about the vast variety of internships available. You might be surprised to know that there are paid and unpaid internships. Most paid internships are well below market value but offer a job seeker the opportunity to get paid to learn.

With your contributions to these types of projects, you will gain real-life experiences and accomplishments that stand out to employers.

In part 3 of this series I’ll be sharing more job search strategies using other online networking resources like Facebook.