You use Facebook to keep up with your friends and family, Instagram to share photos, Pinterest to collect recipes and ideas, and, of course, LinkedIn for all things career.
If you already use Twitter, maybe you view it as just another social site, like Facebook, but with a larger friend pool. Or maybe you don’t use Twitter at all. Either way, you may be missing out on a great way to reach out to prospective employers and network—if you know how to use it.
Sue Way, career counselor at Capella University, shares advice about using Twitter for job searches.
Twitter’s Role in Your Job Search
“Twitter can play a role in a job search, absolutely,” says Way. “It depends on how comfortable people are with social media. If they’re not comfortable, I’d recommend starting with LinkedIn first. It’s less intimidating, more static, and employers and recruiters will expect you to be there.”
However, moving onto platforms like Twitter will make you appear more current in the market. “If I’m looking for job candidates, I’m going to look for them out there—what are they doing? Are they up-to-date and active?” shares Way. She also points out that recruitment services are becoming more active on Twitter, such as organizations like CareerArc. Most large recruiting firms now have full-time social media staff, so keeping track of these firms on Twitter can be helpful to your search.
There’s another benefit to Twitter. Unlike Facebook or LinkedIn, you don’t have to be approved by the other person to make a connection. It doesn’t mean they’ll follow you back (and if you post inappropriate things, they have the ability to block you), but you can still see what they’re talking about—and it might be about job opportunities.
Do’s and Don’ts of Using Twitter for a Job Search
- Take the time to create a full profile. Seasoned Twitter users roll their eyes when they look at a profile that has no images on it (leaving just a bare egg in the picture area) or barely any information. Get a good-quality profile photo and include short information about yourself in the profile. If you have a dissertation, published article, website, or online portfolio, link to it if possible.
- Start a conversation. There’s a reason it’s called “social media.” If you go onto Twitter and simply post over and over again about how you’re looking for a job, no one will care or follow you. Twitter is about chatting, about all kinds of things, like you would at a cocktail party or coffee gathering.
- Look for people you know first. See what they’re doing on Twitter, how they talk to other people, their levels of engagement. Practice with them first.
- Start following people you don’t know. There are specific sorts of Twitter accounts to search for when it comes to your job search:
- People who work in industries or for companies you’re interested in. That can be leadership or lower levels. Over time, they may share valuable information about those companies, including job leads.
- The companies themselves. You can keep track of breaking news for these companies, as well as potential new job openings.
- Recruitment firms. They’ll post leads and information as well, and often can provide advice or insight.
- Professional organizations in your field. The most active organizations will frequently tweet valuable information about your industry, including job postings.
- Learn how to use hashtags. The # symbol is a way to put a phrase on Twitter in a way that can be easily searched by others. For example, #hcmktg is a chat used by marketing professionals working in health care organizations that takes place every Friday. Companies use these frequently to disseminate information about their work and workplace.
- Start small. Just spend 15 minutes a day reading other people’s posts (don’t forget to respond so you can start a conversation!), and seeing what people are talking about. Try to get a couple of posts out each day.
- If you’re preparing for a job interview, you should look up the person(s) interviewing you on LinkedIn, but also check for them on Twitter. On LinkedIn, you’ll find what their role is at the company, but on Twitter, you may learn that, like yourself, they love dogs—and that gives you an icebreaker to start the interview.
- Constantly blast your job search on Twitter. Remember, this is social—if you went to a cocktail party and only talked to people about how you want a job, and didn’t let them talk about anything, you’d quickly find yourself alone at the hors-d’oeuvres stand. It’s OK to mention periodically that you’re job hunting, but keep the social part going at all times.
- Put anything out there you’d worry about a prospective employer seeing. Lots of people use Twitter to talk about controversial topics. If you’re OK with taking that risk, fine—as long as you understand that it is a risk.
- While it’s disappointing to have a valuable lead not come to fruition, never attack the company or hiring personnel on Twitter (or anywhere else).
- Turn Twitter into an entire job itself. You may find, as many have, that Twitter can be downright fun—and addicting. Set limits for yourself, so you don’t get swept into it for too much of your day.
The Capella University Career Center counselors, resources, and tools help students and alumni manage their careers at every stage and move toward the careers they want.