Twitter is very hot these days, and it can be a very powerful tool in your job search. Last week we shared the mysteries of Twitter hashtags. This week, we go in depth on what Twitter can do for you. For the uninitiated, Twitter is a social networking service for people to stay connected. Twitter is different than the other sites for a couple of reasons.
- Communication is limited to quick messages limited to 140 characters or less.
- Your message gets out to many more people. While on sites like Facebook and Myspace you may keep your communications private and within your circle of friends, Twitter is a much more public site.
Simply put Twitter is a microblogging service that allows users to send and read others’ messages, known as “tweets” (because they are so short). Users “follow” or subscribe to what others are saying, creating a feed of messages from a variety of sources. The great thing about Twitter is that it is so easy for people to see and filter each other’s conversations. All you have to do is search for a topic such as a job title (see my hashtags post for more), see which people are tweeting, decide to “follow” them, and all of their posts will appear in your Twitter stream. This is where the power lies for job searching.
- Recruiters are all over Twitter – If you find a recruiter of interest and they follow you back, it creates the opportunity for you to send them a direct message. Although still limited to 140 characters, it’s an opportunity for you to contact them and take the conversation to another channel.
- Recruiters and companies are posting jobs on Twitter – Many jobs are getting posted on Twitter first, and sometimes nowhere else. By setting up searches for job titles of interest, you can uncover those positions and get the jump on applying for them.
- It’s a great place to network – The powerful search functions of twitter make it very easy to find professionals in your current line of work or in a field you wish to transition to.
- More and more companies are establishing a presence on Twitter – Big or small, businesses have realized the importance of being on Twitter. It’s a great way to not only research a company you might be interested in, but also get your name (and brand) in front of them.
- Twitter is an easy place to create a professional reputation – Start sharing insights, industry news and information of interest in your field and soon you will have followers as you build an online reputation that’s attractive to hiring managers.
If you haven’t already jumped onto Twitter (or have signed up but never put in a profile), it’s very easy to get up and running. For many, selecting their username is the toughest part. If you are using it for job seeking, a few quick tips:
- You can make your username a combination of your first and last name, or something a little more fun. Just make sure it is professional.
- Twitter has a special field for a web address; use it! Whether it be a website you set up that showcases your skills, or your Linkedin (Link to linkedin optimization) profile, make sure you put an address in there so people can learn more about you.
- Take time with your bio section. This is what recruiters will see when they go to learn more about you. Like the rest of Twitter, your characters are limited. Make it short, professional, and use relevant keywords for the jobs you are seeking.
- Use a professional photo that represents you well to potential employers.
If you thought Twitter was just people on there talking about what they had for lunch, you may be surprised at some of the valuable applications it has for finding a job. Start utilizing it, and you may even find your next job through Twitter!