When the average job seeker thinks about using social media for job hunting, their mind immediately goes to LinkedIn, and for good reason: it’s the world’s largest online professional network. But while our recruiting team contributes to the 94 percent of talent acquisition leaders who use LinkedIn as a primary sourcing mechanism, most people don’t realize they’re also on Twitter.
In fact, 55 percent of recruiters are using Twitter to attract top talent, yet only 40 percent of job seekers have an active profile, let alone use it as a professional branding tool, according to Capterra. Not only does it increase your exposure, but when recruiters see you on Twitter, it also proves that you’re technologically savvy and in tune with 21st-century job search practices.
As an employment expert of 30 years, I’m still amazed that the majority of candidates I meet are intimated by Twitter. With easily accessible information and learning tutorials found online, Twitter is a surprisingly easy application to master. Below are 8 ways to gain personal brand exposure using Twitter.
1. Treat your Twitter account like an online business card.
Make your account information as specific and professional as possible, and on your profile, link to your own blog or online portfolio if you have one. First impressions are just as important on social media. Make sure you have a great online description and photo. Be professional but creative.
2. Make your presence known.
Follow, comment, and retweet thought leaders within your industry. And don’t forget to follow companies you’d like to work for. Many companies have job-related Twitter handles. Following those is a great way to keep tabs on job openings, rather than searching the company’s website.
Don’t just use your Twitter as a means of self-promotion—be interested in what other people are doing and engage with them. Also, build your network before you need it; engage with people who do what you want to do. Build lists for people across different disciplines. Join chats. Interact and start conversations. Initiate discussions with people who inspire you. It’s okay to step outside of your comfort zone.
4. Create your own content.
Share your thoughts and knowledge on trending topics within your industry. Achieve this by regularly tweeting out interesting observations and articles. The more relevant contributions you make, the more others will want to continue to follow you.
5. Be a stalker.
Twitter isn’t the first social network someone typically thinks about when applying for a job, but it does have some unique advantages over other social platforms. The lack of barriers to connect with thought leaders is one of its biggest. It’s great for connecting meaningfully with people and companies you don’t already know, which is much more difficult to do on platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. You can develop a rapport with people you may not have access to in real life. Plus, It’s easier and more convenient for a recruiter to reply to your tweet than to pick up the phone. Twitter facilitates quicker responses. Find out who the HR leaders are within a company you’re applying for and send tweets directly to them (or their business Twitter page).
6. Use job search hashtags.
An easy way to search for openings is to use the hashtag sign or what some people refer to as the pound sign which is the # symbol. The hashtag is Twitter’s filing system. For example, if you search #NYC and #jobs, you will find tweets for openings in New York. By adding a hashtag to your posts, such as #jobs, you will help to exclude tweets that have your keywords, but aren’t job postings.
7. Search for actual #jobs on Twitter.
To search for jobs on Twitter, you can use the Twitter Basic Search (found in the right-hand navigation on your Twitter Home page) or Twitter Advanced Search. Simply enter your keywords and hashtags in the search box provided, then hit enter. Any tweets matching your search string will display in the results. To refine your search results, use some of the advanced search capabilities, which allow you to exclude keywords, search by date, by language and by specific Twitter users.
8. Send private notes to potential mentors.
A great way to find a job is to reach out directly to someone in your field and let them know that you are looking for new opportunities. It’s best to do this after you have interacted with someone through retweets or responses to tweets they have made.
9. Try Twesume.
Just like it sounds, “Twesume” = Twitter and your resume (yep, the one sitting on your hard drive). In essence, a Twesume is a short bio or resume condensed into 140 characters or less. Twesumes help job seekers get noticed by companies who use social recruiting. With the Twesume, a job seeker can introduce himself and engage with an employer in less time (and space) than a traditional resume and cover letter could ever manage. The great thing about the Twesume is that it’s a completely flexible, living document. Did you get promoted? No problem, just tweet the addition to your resume.