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Using Twitter In Your Job Search

According to a recent survey done by reppler.com, 91% of employers are using social media sites to screen prospective employees. Of those that use social media, 53% use twitter as a screening tool.

Those are some big numbers. What this means for you is that if you are currently looking for a job, you had better be paying attention to Twitter and other social media platforms.  But, how do you use Twitter for your job search?

You first have to control  your personal brand. There is no point in trying to use twitter as a networking tool if what employers are going to see is not a reflection of who you are and what assets you will bring to their company.

Control Your Personal Brand

At the very least, you need to make sure the image you are projecting to employers through your Twitter account is a professional one. You don’t want them to discover any inappropriate content or content that could make the company look bad if they were to hire you. You want your social profile to give the company every reason TO hire you.

First, check you profile picture. As a guide, if it contains anything that you wouldn’t want displayed in front of your boss or work peers, then change it to something more acceptable. Keep it simple. A professional head shot is best.

Now you need to work on your Twitter bio. Chris Brogan has an excellent in-depth write up on how to write bios but I will give you the overview here. In short, you want to write your bio in the third person and start with your name. Include your profession and/or accomplishments next. Finish up with a way to contact you. Keep your bio professional looking. With Twitter you only have 160 characters in your bio so make them count.

Make sure that your name and location are both accurate. If you set up your Twitter account up a while back, make sure you didn’t use a nickname or an off-the-wall location on your profile.

Finally, drop inappropriate followers and inappropriate accounts you follow. You don’t want a potential employer to browse through your list of followers/followee’s¬† only to see a bunch of border-line pornographic pictures with innuendo laden bios. Attracting these types of followers can happen if you blindly follow anyone who follows your account.

 

Making Twitter Private

If all else fails and you don’t feel as though you can clean up your Twitter account in time for a review from one of the companies that you’ve applied to, you can make your twitter account private and create a new Twitter account that you use for your job search and professional life. There is no guarantee this will clean up the search results in time for recruiters doing a social media background search online, but it should at least make any content found inaccessible to people not in your approved list of followers.

The following comes straight from Twitter with regards to private Twitter accounts:

By making your Twitter account private, you will have the following benefits:

  • People will have to request to follow you and each follow request will need approval
  • Your Tweets will only be visible to users you’ve approved, meaning that other users will not be able to retweet your Tweets
  • Protected Tweets will not appear in Twitter search
  • @replies you send to people who aren’t following you will not be seen by those users (because you have not given them permission to see your Tweets)
  • You cannot share permanent links to your Tweets with anyone other than your approved followers

 

After you have cleaned up your Twitter account so that it is presentable, you can start using Twitter to find new employment prospects and to network with potential employers.

 

Follow The Right People

Following the right Twitter people is important but who exactly are the “right people”? There is no single set of right people to follow. You will need to follow the Twitterer’s that are right for your industry and situation.

You can start by following people and companies in your industry. Look for key people in your industry that provide valuable information. If you are targeting a specific company for employment, you can search for key people who work for the company and have Twitter accounts. They can be great sources of inside information.

If you are unsure what companies to follow, The Undercover Recruiter has a nice list of companies tweeting jobs by industry. The Recruiters Lounge also has a nice list of The Top 50 Recruiters on Twitter. You can use these lists to find active Twitter recruiters. Both these lists will provide you with a great start.

If you are looking for jobs in IL, I use two Twitter sources: @ChicagoJobs1 and @SuburbanChiJobs. Both of these Twitter accounts tweet out jobs for the Chicago area and both list jobs frequently.

 

Interact With People You Follow/Follow You

Interacting with your followers and the people you follow is important but interacting with your Twitter network in the right way is even more important.

You don’t want to be considered a spammer so avoid over-self promoting. Don’t make every tweet about you or your needs. Twitter is a two way conversation.

Imagine if you invite a friend over for dinner and all they do is to talk about themselves and completely ignore you and what you are saying. When you ask them a question, they turn the topic to themselves or they don’t even bother answering you.

You wouldn’t continue to invite this person over given their behavior. If you only talk about yourself and your needs, your Twitter followers will ignore you or quit following you. That doesn’t mean that you should not post any self-promoting content. Just keep those type of tweets in the minority and focus more on building relationships.

Here are some suggestions for productive activity on Twitter:

  1. Ask questions
  2. Tweet relevant, useful industry information
  3. Answer questions, reply to your followers and those you follow
  4. Tweet links to interesting or relevant articles
  5. Help others when they ask for help

 

Employment Bound

Twitter is a social tool that can be used to help you with your job search. The key to using Twitter effectively is to treat it as a social interaction between you and your audience. Keep the conversations on your Twitter account professional and narrow in scope and focus on networking with professionals in your field. While you probably won’t get a job offer based on your Twitter account alone, Twitter can help you showcase your knowledge and experience in your field and help you to make the connections necessary to find employment.

About the Author

Rick Biederer is the owner and operator of www.FindIllinoisJobs.com.

Follow him on Google Plus

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