March 4, 2010

How to Find a Job on Twitter

If you are looking for a job, you probably already know by now that you need to use every available resource.

From networking with colleagues and friends to blanketing the job world with your resume, you must not leave any stone unturned. Another invaluable tool, especially in this economy, is social networking.

We’ve talked on this blog before about how to use social networking to find a job, and in particular how to maximize your presence on Linked In. Today, I am going to look at taking advantage of Twitter to land your next assignment.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a social networking site that allows people to post and read short messages — known as tweets — among friends and followers. Tweets are limited to 140 characters. For more on the fundamentals of Twitter, check out the site’s about page.

Why does Twitter matter to my job search?

Ah, there’s the million-dollar question. Not only can you use Twitter to network and even find job openings, but potential employers can also use Twitter to learn more about you. Just like Facebook and LinkedIn, your profile and posts (aka tweets) on Twitter are not exactly confidential. If you are busy tweeting about your drunken escapades last week, well that’s hardly the image you want to project as a responsible, mature employee.

How can I use Twitter to maximize my chances of finding a job?

Lots of ways! Here are three tips to get you stated:

1) Pitch yourself in your bio

You have 160-characters in which to post a bio; put your job pitch up there (“is seeking a challenging position in xy industry with which to apply my a, b, c skills”). Also include a link to your resume. You can use a tool like Visual CV to create, upload and store your resume for free.

Also be sure that your avatar is professional. The avatar is that little picture that everyone sees next to your tweets that appear in their feed. The best avatar choice is a nice headshot, just make sure it’s a professionally appropriate image.

2) Follow the right people

Seek out experts and leaders in your field — not only will you be able to (social) network with them, but you will also learn a lot from reading their tweets and perusing their follower lists.

You can also follow job recruiters, many of whom use Twitter to look for candidates. Be sure to check into any recruiters, however, since some are more “legit” than others. (A good way to weed out the spam is by taking a look at their ratio of followers to following. If they follow several hundred but only have a handful of followers, that’s not a good sign!)

And finally, it’s a good idea to follow some of the leading career counselor types. Again, great networking and learning opportunities. Plus they often share online job-searching resources, from job listings to resume building advice. Check out my list of the top 10 people to follow on Twitter to get yourself started.

3) Take advantage of the hashtag

A uniquely Twitter invention, the # (hashtag) is a great way to join in a conversation across all of Twitter. The # is used for so-called “trending” topics — hot topics that many on Twitter are talking about. By using the search function, you can find *everyone* on Twitter who is posting on that topic.

One such example is #Tweetmyjobs, which is a super simple, free way to find a job. There are channels — individual Twitter accounts — for each of 110 different geographic locations and 30 industry fields. You subscribe (aka follow) a particular channel and then whenever new job postings are added, a tweet shows up instantly in your Twitter feed. You can also sign up to have instant messages sent directly to your cell phone.

Those are my best tips. What are your top Twitter suggestions? Share them in our comments section!

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