twitter for your job search

I love Twitter and not because I’m an exhibitionist with a short attention span. I love Twitter because it’s an amazing social search engine. I follow people in HR, employers, recruitment consultants, my clients, people who follow me, and lots of other people who just keep me amused. People are always tweeting interesting information, with links back to blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn and the like. They tell me and the rest of the universe what they like, who they talk to and what they’re up to. Well, the bits they’d like me to know at least. So I use Twitter a lot for ideas and contacts. But there are lots of other uses for Twitter as well, including finding a job on it.

If you are struggling to find a job, or even just randomly looking, you’d be mad if you overlook Twitter, even if you can’t stand the thought of exposing yourself on social media. You don’t actually have to expose yourself, to get interesting information out of it, or even a job. You can just use it as a research tool. Here are a few basic tips and things to think about to get you started.

Top Twitter Job Hunting Tip # 1

Sign on.

You can use your own name if you are open about your job search and happy for people to know. If not use something else.

If you want to use your own name but it’s taken, you could also use a name that represents what you do, your industry or what you’d like to do.

If you don’t want people to know that you are looking for a job, use another name, and set up and use an email address that doesn’t have your name in it.

Top Twitter Job Hunting Tip # 2

Fill in your professional bio. You are only given 160 characters so you’ll need to be precise. Have a look at what I’ve done with mine. I use a mixture of the professional and the personal. You don’t need to write your bio this way, but for me it’s a nice point of connection for anyone who chooses to talk to me.

Bio: Careers journalist, job search and interview coach, resume writer, author, random tweeter and SEO online profile tweaker. Prefers salt to chlorine on hot days.

Top Twitter Job Hunting Tip # 3

Link your URL back to your LinkedIn profile, website or blog if you have one. Make it easy for people to find out more about the information you’d like to present publicly about yourself.

Top Twitter Job Hunting Tip # 4

Learn how it works. Unlike LinkedIn, linking up on Twitter is not so personal. You can choose to follow whomever you like. Sometimes people follow you back. Sometimes they don’t. Don’t take it personally they don’t. It’s easy to be swamped by too many people.

Top Twitter Job Hunting Tip # 5

Don’t panic.

With “@”, “#”, “RT” and “FF” just to name a few, a Twitter conversation can seem like a jargon convention for the hyperactive, where you’re left on the sidelines. Here are a few quick translations.

- @ is a message you can post on your profile in acknowldgement to someone else, or when you are having a public conversation.

- # helps tweeters organise their tweets so other people can find them. Sometimes groups of people use this to have a conversation. I plan to join #blogchat at some time, for tips on blogging.

- “RT” allows you to tweet out someone else’s tweet, that you may think is useful

- “FF” is a random twitter code – Follow Friday. It’s a way of acknowledging people who you like, or who have helped you.

There are hundreds more than what I have just mentioned. That’s the thing with Twitter, cracking the code can get you hooked into it.

Top Twitter Job Hunting Tip # 6

What to tweet?

If you want people to follow you as well, you’ll need to say something. Otherwise you’ll look like a spammer. If you tweet about work, be careful though about whether your employer has any privacy policies. Some are explicit about who can be public spokes people for companies and Twitter can be in the public domain. Even if your employer doesn’t have privacy policies, you saying something about your work may simply not be acceptable. Plus it could be sackable.

There are also dumb things people have done on Twitter, to get them dismissed.

Have a read of this post by resume bear. It includes things such as:

Bragging about fooling your boss into thinking you worked late the night before.

Bragging about using twitter in work time when it’s not allowed.

Talking about when they will resign

I’ll be adding on to this list on this blog as time goes on.

If you post links you can use URL shortening services like bit.ly

When you tweet, do remember that Twitter is public and becomes part of the public record. Recruiters look at what in the public domain about you. Digital screening is becoming more and more popular. So a good rule of thumb is to remember everything on the internet can be archived. At some point it may come back to bite you.

Top Twitter Job Hunting Tip # 7

You don’t have to use Twitter publicly to use it to job search. You can set up a profile, protect your tweets, or not even tweet, and follow anyone you like for information.

I’ve found Twitter works for me when I engage in a conversation with another tweeter, but anything that I want to discuss privately, that I think could be confidential for the other person or myself, I say offline. It’s a good rule of thumb.

Who should you follow on Twitter to help you get a job?

You’ll be surprised who you find here. Many job boards, recruitment consultants, major employers and HR managers are on Twitter. You may sign up to a job board and receive an email once a day or once a week, however job boards will often blast out jobs on Twitter as they have them listed. This means you get first jump on jobs before other people do.

Use Twitter to network to find a job

Like LinkedIn you can follow colleagues, friends and people in your broader network. It’s a way of keeping what they’re up to in the present for you. Again remember if you follow them, they can click on your profile and see your tweets. So do be mindful of what you are sharing. If you want to make contact, Twitter makes it easy to pick up a thread of a conversation and have a point in common.

I’ve also known people who’ve needed staff really quickly to tweet out the job to their network. Those jobs have never landed on a job board.

Final thoughts

The bottom line with Twitter is that it’s only one job searching tool of many. More and more recruiters and employers are using these to track you down, or check you out, so it’s worthwhile at least understanding these, even if you choose not to use them.

There are more advanced Twitter tools job search tools that you can use. However if you’re like most people I know, you’ve barely thought about LinkedIn, let alone Twitter at this stage. So I’ll introduce these gently.

Related: List of 140 Employers Posting Jobs via Twitter.

photo by: petesimon

Karalyn Brown is a resume, interview and job search consultant based in Australia. She’s also an online careers agony aunty, writes frequently on career issues for a major Australian newspaper and talks job search tactics on the national broadcaster. You can visit her blog InterviewIQ or follow her on Twitter @InterviewIQ.