Who knew that 140 characters could have so much power?
With TweetMyJobs listing over one-and-a-half million job tweets in the past 30 days, there's no question that Twitter is rapidly becoming a must-use social media resource for job seekers. More and more companies are using Twitter to seek employees, with many Tweets looking like an online version of the classified ads of the past. Developing an effective and efficient Twitter strategy for your job search is a smart idea.
Twitter can be helpful to your career on several levels, but the most obvious help comes in the form of up-to-the-minute job leads. It's a great way to start a connection that can lead to a career.
Keep in mind as you get started on Twitter that, like other social media, Twitter is a conversation-- not a one-way communication where you only promote yourself. Provide information and resources that potential readers (and employers) might find helpful or interesting. Keep your tweets professional and related to your ideal audience. Focus first on what your message is, and whom you're trying to reach.
Here are some steps to get started:
1. Create a Twitter account and get familiar with Twitter's format and system. If possible, use your name for your account. Post a professional picture and describe the employment you're seeking in your Twitter bio (unless, of course, you are already employed). Spend some time reading other postings; learn your way around the site. If you're looking for a good resource, check out The Twitter Book by Tim O'Reilly and Sarah Milstein.
2. Twitter allows you to link to a website; if you don't have a professional website, link to your LinkedIn profile so that employers who want to learn more about you will be able see your experience and education. Don't have a LinkedIn profile? See my post on the value of LinkedIn for the job seeker.
3. Follow leaders in your field, potential employers, your college career center, your college alumni office, career coaches, career advice sites, etc. Twitter makes this easy through the search function, and with recommendations for related sites. Use Twitter's advanced search feature to find job-related tweets. Here's a YouTube video to get started: Use hashtags to find job listings and industry-related tweets.
4. Establish yourself as knowledgeable in your area of interest by tweeting about the latest articles, news, or research related to your field. Tweet about interesting items related to the job search as well.
5. Connect with TweetMyJobs and sign up for the free services. You can indicate the cities and job titles you're most interested in, and these will be tweeted to you as they appear. The postings are immediate, so you'll hear about a job before other social platforms will likely have it.
That's it. Twitter is pretty simple. Just remember: Twitter is a starting point. You will have to take your job search offline at some point to interview, network, or otherwise meet your potential employer. But Twitter is another great tool in the growing toolkit of a job seeker.
Copyright 2011 Katharine Brooks