“They’ll think it’s strange if I contact them.” “They’re probably too busy to care.” “I’ll just figure it out myself.” Stop it. All of you. Now. And log on to Twitter.“They’ll think it’s strange if I contact them.”
“They’re probably too busy to care.”
“I’ll just figure it out myself.”
Stop it. All of you. Now.
And log on to Twitter.
Aside from the tried-and-true methods of emailing or calling a perfect stranger to request an informational interview (I’ve successfully done so multiple times with people you’ve certainly heard of), Twitter is now an effective way of contacting someone you’d like to learn from.
Think about it. We’re completely comfortable tweeting celebrities, politicians, entrepreneurs, and so forth — so why would we ever think twice about using Twitter to find a mentor or new career opportunities in our desired fields?
We shouldn’t, especially because of how Twitter levels the playing field. When people sign up for Twitter — no matter who they are, no matter how famous they’ve become, no matter how busy they appear — they’re signing up with the intention to connect and converse with people they wouldn’t otherwise know. They’re signing up to share their musings with the masses. And they’re signing up to be a resource to others while also building business for themselves.
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So, it’s not intrusive. It’s not juvenile. You’re not some super fan. You just want to do what they do, and already have tangible goals in mind of how you’re going to accomplish this.
Now you just need guidance.
So, next time someone who’s career you admire tweets something interesting, or invites feedback from the online community, “speak” up!
Continue to do so and you may just find your tweets getting favorited or retweeted — or, an actual response.
That is the perfect time to send a direct message to this person, asking what it is you should focus on so you can succeed as they have. This is also the perfect opportunity to ask if they’d be willing to allow you to buy them lunch and pick their brain.
You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.
But, before you reach out to a potential mentor, make sure your Twitter profile is up to snuff. Here are some tips to consider:
1. Lists are a highly useful and underutilized Twitter feature. “Follow” lists allow you to organize who you’re following by the company they work for or the industry they work in. This is very helpful for someone keeping their eyes on a particular field — these lists can help you figure out who to specifically reach out to.
In addition, you can see which lists you’ve been made a member of and subscribe to other’s lists in order to increase your exposure and visibility to those you’re seeking guidance from.
2. Use hashtags! Just keep them descriptive, concise and conversational (such as, #AskHerMore). Two to three are plenty within a tweet, but also be sure to include them in your bio to act as keywords. What are you about? People will be able to find you much easier this way when searching.
3. Lastly — for goodness sake — use a professional headshot as your profile photo, and a cover photo that expresses your interest for what you do. It helps to make yourself recognizable.
ALSO ON THE NJBIZ “MILLENNIAL MINDED” BLOG:
Here’s a few things to consider if you’re a millennial (literally) on the move
For millennials who can afford to live alone, it has benefits
In support of snail mail: Millennials take note