More and more people are now taking to Twitter and other forms of social media to boost their career and help in their job search. But what are the do’s and don’ts when using Twitter to enhance your career? And can you really get a job in 140 characters? In the new 2013/14 edition of How to Get a Job You’ll Love (McGraw-Hill, 2013, £14.99) careers expert and author, John Lees, expertly guides readers through the Twitter maze.
Used correctly, social media and Twitter can help give you an edge, but used poorly they can actually do more harm than good. Twitter, like all social media, will make you more visible and can be used as a tool to find and contact the right people, to network and to join online communities. Many employers and recruiters now use the Internet for background checking, so always remember that you’ll never know exactly who is checking your online presence and history. If you want to include embarrassing photographs of yourself semi-naked or drunk you might as well take them to your job interview - the Internet is called a ‘public domain’ for a reason - while you may not get a job in 140 characters, you could easily lose one with less...
These are John’s ten tips for using Twitter:
1. If you are going to use Twitter as a career enhancer and job search tool set up an account specifically for this purpose with a completed profile that shows who you are at a glance - a short biography, mini- statements about your expertise, your approximate location, and a link to the site that recruiters can go to for more information e.g your LinkedIn profile.
2. Follow target employers, their followers and job tweets, as well as relevant blogs, media and industry experts.
3. Connect your LinkedIn Update box to your Twitter account to share your career focused views and opinions and use the ‘#’ hashtag to update LinkedIn once a day, but only relevant updates.
4. Tweet information not desperation - news, links and ideas. However, sometimes a simple targeted message can help if you have just been made redundant e.g ‘just laid off looking for a #HRjob’ because that alone might prompt some offers of help, but don’t go into the circumstances publicly, say anything negative about your former employer, or keep repeating the message if your first posting doesn’t work.
5. Tweet frequently but not too regularly or it will look like Twitter is the primary focus of your day. One daily tweet connected to LinkedIn is often enough to raise your profile.
6. Tweet what you think is relevant to your audiences, pick up relevant hashtags from relevant discussions relating to your work sectors and include your LinkedIn profile on your CV so anyone looking you up will also be able to see your latest postings.
7. Thank others visibly where they mention or retweet you.
8. Don’t worry about producing original ideas or content. Focus on being current, relevant and sharing knowledge. Demonstrate your enthusiasm and mention events or conferences you are attending, books you have read, or sites and people who inspire you.
9. Don’t get locked into electronic conversations only - try to turn those offers into direct (private, offline) messages and then actual conversations and meetings.
10. And a final reminder to keep your Twitter account career focused! If you want to look like a serious, committed candidate don’t slip into personal anecdotes about your dog, love life or favourite recipes. If you do want a fun account, give that Twitter account a title not directly linked to your real name.
Following these tips will help present a clear and simple picture of who you are and what you do. By being consistent with your Twitter usage you will become known for what you say and how you use it, not only boosting your career, but also raising the possibility of exciting new job opportunities in the future.