It’s no secret that Twitter is all aflutter right now, especially in the world of job hunting and recruiting. The Wall Street Journal published “The New Résumé: It’s 140 Characters” and promptly held a Twitter chat to get industry experts to weigh in with their tweety two cents. Here are a few of the most useful tidbits I gathered from the chat.
@DanKlamm, Director of Young Alumni Engagement, NYC – Syracuse University Lubin House: “I work with @SyracuseU alumni who have—quite literally—tweeted to CEOs, which led to offline convos & job opportunities.”
@elanazak, WSJ social media producer: “Don’t just promote yourself. Social media is about two-way conversations, not just about you.”
Check out the WSJ’s full list of highlights in the “Using Social Media to Find a Job” post.
Reading these pages is a great start, but if you’re still a bit confused as to how to break into the Twittersphere, I’ve gathered the best tips and tricks to help you incorporate Twitter in your job search.
Let’s start with a few no-nos
In the interest of keeping it real, I’m going to start with a few personal anecdotes of how NOT to use Twitter to get a job. While I can’t say for sure if these were the reasons I didn’t get the jobs in question, these rookie mistakes certainly couldn’t have helped my cause. I’m sharing these stories not because I’m a glutton for punishment, but because I hope you’ll find them useful as you go about your own job search. Remember: Do not attempt.
Twitter trap #1: Not keeping your account current, especially if you’re applying for a job in media or tech.
Once upon a time, I opened a Twitter account. I was what you might call a “lurker,” following some celebs and friends, but rarely tweeting anything myself. Then I forgot about Twitter and all but abandoned my account. Flash forward about two years. I’m applying for jobs in San Francisco and a potential employer asked for my Twitter handle as part of the initial screening process. I should have probably taken this as an indication that I should dust off the cobwebs on my account, but alas, I did not. Can you guess how this story ends? I did not get the job.
Twitter trap #2: Not having anything intelligent to say about thought leaders or influencers on Twitter.
At one stage in my job search, I was lucky enough to get a referral from a friend to a hip media agency. They liked my résumé (or trusted my friend) well enough to conduct a phone interview with me. Things seemed to be going well until they asked me who I followed on Twitter and why. Was I embarrassed to admit that I followed Pauly D? Sure. Should I have anticipated this question ahead of time and made a list of thought leaders and why I liked them? Absolutely. Did I ever hear back from the company after I sputtered out my unsatisfactory response? Nope.
Some better ideas
Now that we’ve gotten those cringe-worthy examples out of the way, let’s look at some ways that you should be using Twitter in your job search.
1. Find companies, people, and hashtags to follow
Start by thinking about industries and companies that interest you. You can also set up searches for hashtags in order to discover new people who are regularly tweeting on the topics you’d like to learn more about. When someone you follow retweets something interesting, take a look at where it came from. This is a great way to discover new people to follow.
If there are particular companies you’re especially interested in working for, do a little sleuthing and see if their hiring managers are on Twitter. If so, follow them, retweet their posts in a thoughtful manner (adding a little commentary or explanation why), and respond to their tweets when it makes sense to do so.
2. Share relevant industry news and the occasional link to your personal content or something that shows your interests, knowledge, and curiosity (or personal work if applicable)
I know you’re a smarty pants (you are reading this blog, after all!), but think about how you can use Twitter to demonstrate that to everyone else on the planet.
Think of yourself as a museum curator (or a DJ, for all those fellow Pauly D fans)—you get to hand-pick what material to share with the rest of the world. Hiring managers want to get a sense of your personality and interests, so it’s fine to tweet about your favorite TV shows, musicians, or what you’re doing in your free time as long as you do it thoughtfully.
Keep things tasteful and classy.
If you’re actively looking for a job, it’s a good idea to keep the majority of your posts relevant to your industry, and just throw in the occasional bit of humor, interesting tidbit, or shameless self plug.
3. If one of the companies you’re interested in working for lists an open position and you’re qualified, Tweet at their hiring manager or HR account
Once you’ve established yourself as a useful contributor, you can begin to use your account to actively pursue companies. Keep your eyes open for job listings, and reach out directly to the company’s HR account or recruiting manager. Develop a 140-character version of your résumé, or link to your online portfolio or LinkedIn profile.
Just remember that there’s a fine line between being proactive and being pushy.
Do not cross that line.
Want more? Check out these additional resources for ideas and inspiration.
Get Hired from a Tweet? I Think So by David Smooke, SmartRecuiters
Infographic: How Social Media Can Help You Find Your Next Internship from Internships.com
The Tweet That Changed My Whole Career by Dhara Naik on Levo League
5 Rules for Asking Your LinkedIn Connections for Help from The Daily Muse
P.S. Have you successfully used Twitter or social media in your job search? Made any mistakes you’d like to share? No judgment, we promise! Let us know in the comments.