When I survey job searchers about their preferences regarding social media tools for finding work, Twitter consistently appears to be the least used and most misunderstood of all the popular sites. This is unfortunate, since of all the sites commonly used by job searchers, it could be true to say that this site provides one of the most immediate and rich source of jobs and opportunities to connect with potential employers.
In simple terms, Twitter can be described as a social site where people share ideas, have conversations, express opinions and report news in 140 character Tweets, which may contain simple statements, links to photos or other online content. Twitter is a public space which allows users to “follow” interesting people or organisations, so to track their Tweets, as well as comment, share or start a conversation.
Here are some simple instructions for setting up a Twitter account, specifically for the purpose of using it to job search:
1. Sign up for Twitter and set up your account:
- Use a USERNAME that identifies you – the closer to your own name, the better. Remember — you are going to be targeting potential employers
- Put up a professional photo, preferably the same one you use for LinkedIn.
- Put up a brief bio that describes you as a professional
- If you feel like getting fancy, you can create a background that shows some of your skills
- Add a link in your profile to your LinkedIn account
2. Follow interesting and relevant people and companies
- Focusing on your job search goal, find people to follow: target companies, recruiters, respected authorities in your field (try Twellow). Follow job search experts (Here’s an excellent list of recommended job search experts on Twitter)
- When someone follows you or you follow them, read their profiles and connect with them. See who they know and who interests them. Seek out people you would LIKE to know and follow them.
- Take time to listen, watch and learn how people use it
3. Search for jobs, and sign up with some of the Twitter Job Search sites; try:
- Twit Job Search
4. Strike a conversation
- Don’t be shy to initiate conversation with people. Note the use of hashtags (#) to identify key words; here are a good listing of job search hashtags to start.
- Join conversations, tweet and retweet.
- Focus on your industry and on your knowledge area.
- Share others’ updates and create your own.
- Thank people when they follow you.
The bottom line with Twitter is that it is a very useful tool to attract the attention of employers, as well as an excellent source of up to date information about jobs and trends. If you use it with a clear focus on job search and professional self marketing, it can become another excellent tool in your job search toolbox.