Not Your Parents’ Job Search: Using Twitter to Network

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By Marcie Waters

The job search has definitely changed since our parents were looking for their first full-time jobs. One of the biggest differences is social media’s role in the job search process. Now sites like LinkedIn and Twitter are emerging as top networking tools.

Why Use Twitter?
Twitter allows you to easily connect with businesses and organizations that you’re interested in working for. It is an easy way to stay up-to-date on news, trends, and ideas in your desired industry. It’s a convenient way to network with professionals. Each tweet is capped at 140 characters, forcing you to stick to simple questions and answers; this can be less intimidating than other forms of networking. Twitter is an inherently public platform, so you don’t have to feel like you’re stalking a professional by asking them a question about their career. Its public nature also allows you to share content that tells other professionals about your interests and accomplishments.

Getting Started:
Make sure you have a professional Twitter profile photo. Follow the same guidelines as you would for LinkedIn: a headshot in professional dress with a neutral background. Before uploading the photo, name the file with your first and last name to make it more easily searchable. Make sure you have a Twitter handle that is appropriate for the professional world. Also set a location on your profile. If you have a personal website, include the link on your profile as well. If you don’t, include a link to your LinkedIn account (If you don’t have one of those, check out this blog post to get you started).

Write a Twitter bio that includes keywords about the industry/career you are looking for. You can also tag an account you are connected with, like a company you are currently interning for. Including a characteristic, hobby, or humorous phrase can make you more personable. So if Don Draper was writing a Twitter bio, he could say something like “Creative director at @McCannErickson advertising, former partner at @SCDP, spontaneous road trip taker”. His Twitter could now be included in search results for “creative director” and “advertising”, so think about how you would want employers to find you.

What to Tweet About:
It’s important to share valuable content, which includes news, how-to’s, and fun (appropriate) items. These tweets could include useful blog posts, videos, or services that you’ve found, and will help future employers get an idea of who you are as a person. You can also tweet links to an online portfolio or photos of your projects (Use a URL shortener to conserve characters and keep tweets readable). Use relevant hash tags to make them more searchable. Try to get on the radar of professionals in your industry by tweeting at them to ask for help or advice about professional matters.

You can also join in Twitter Chats, which are organized conversations on Twitter at a certain time around a specific topic. Participating in a Twitter chat in your industry will allow you to connect with others in your industry and gain information on related topics.

A final Twitter tool that you should take advantage of in your job search is the lists feature of Twitter. It allows you to group similar Twitter accounts together on a list that you can check separately from the rest of your followers. Make a list of companies you would like to work for or of accounts that tweet job openings. You can also subscribe to others’ lists if you don’t want to create your own.

The final, and maybe most important, tips to keep in mind while tweeting during your job search are: keep your account current and proofread every tweet. An account that hasn’t been active since 2012 looks lazy or like you have nothing to say. Tweeting with spelling and grammar errors makes you look careless. Keep these tips in mind and start networking like it’s the twenty-first century!