A couple of articles ago we looked at crafting your Linked In profile to help your career and whilst LI is, and remains, the number 1 social media platform for professionals, it also pays not to overlook other social media giants. Twitter for example can also be used very successfully to help promote your image as a person worthy of being employed by your target company, or companies.
Where LI is great for displaying your professional persona, Twitter is where you need to be if you want to set yourself up as a thought-provoking leader. Those 140 character tweets don't allow you to say much but with a bit of careful planning and thought, what you can say can be still be powerfully influential. This is where those short 'thoughts for the day', links to interesting and relevant topics, thought provoking comments et al can really collect you a bunch of influential followers. And ultimately impress potential employers looking for leaders who have a demonstrated ability to provide value to a team.
If you have a Twitter account, it is important to use it, especially if you want it to count when it comes to finding a new job. Quite apart from which, Twitter requires account holders to log in at least once every 6 months and launch a tweet to avoid their account becoming 'inactive'. There are various tricks you can use to make it look like you are a regular Twitterer. One of them is not flooding your feed with tweets in a short period of time just to make it look like you're active. Anyone checking out your Twitter account to see what you've been up to (and hirers DO do this!) will spot it in an instance.
We mentioned the use of keywords in your bio or profile in our LinkedIn article and the same thing applies to Twitter. Using job and industry relevant keywords in your bio will help hirers find you.
Remember to utilise the very handy hashtag feature (on all your social media platforms) to find relevant vacancies. You can pop phrases like #jobs #vacancies and add your specific field or location as well. So to find geologist openings in South Africa you can put something like #jobs#geologists#South Africa. The Twitter search bar may look unassuming but it's far from that in reality. Learn how to use it effectively to help you hunt down jobs and research other tools that you can bring in to refine your search even further.
Like most social media platforms, Twitter has its fair share of job search experts. Find them, and follow them so you get the benefit of the inspiration and advice they doll out on a daily basis. Another obvious way to use Twitter to help land your dream job is to follow companies you'd like to work for. Many of these companies have a Twitter account they use for hiring purposes and keeping tabs on these will keep you in the loop about vacancies that are coming up.
Likewise, find inspirational people who work for these companies, preferably in the same department you'd like to work in, and follow them. At the very least you may receive advance notice of any vacancies coming up. As you're following both the company account, and the accounts of people who work there, you'll probably also glean some insights about the company, which you can then use to your advantage when compiling your targeted resume, or attending an interview. If you can manage to strike up an actual connection with these employees, it may also give you a contact within the company so you're not a total stranger to them when your resume hits their hiring desk.
Attending an industry networking function or conference? Search for mentions of it on Twitter via the hashtag facility and see if you can connect with other attendees beforehand to improve your networking chances. Find out who you absolutely need to touch base with on the day for networking purposes, and who is just interesting enough to warrant meeting up with.
Follow the influencers in your area of expertise. Become part of the community they build around themselves and in doing so, create your own community of followers. Many people will follow you back, particularly if they like what you tweet, so be sure to give them something to like about you!
Social media platforms, including Twitter, however are all about interacting. Get involved in Twitter conversations. Follow major thought leaders in your field of expertise. Twitter chats are an excellent place to do this – these are chats usually based on a particular hashtag (hashtag chats) and they generally happen on a regular basis each week. You'll typically find experts and authorities in these conversations that you can follow, learn from, and generally enjoy interacting with.
Consider creating a public list of people you follow, especially those you consider influential and motivating. The intent of this list is to allow users to show their admiration for those they deem worthy to put on the list. People are also notified when they're added to one of these public lists, which brings you to their attention again.
Find interesting things to tweet about, good articles to share, and aim to have them retweeted by your followers. That will help you build up your own following, and ultimately the more quality you can provide, the more followers you'll get and more you'll start to be perceived as a 'thought' leader.
Keep the personal tweets to a minimum. If you've ever found yourself annoyed by those random 'dirty laundry' type rants that are common on social media platforms like Facebook, don't develop the habit of doing it yourself! Or at least not on your professional account. This is the account where you may share the odd personal titbit but in the main, your tweets should be focussed on providing value for others.
On the other hand, Twitter is also a great platform for showing some of the quirks that make you a unique individual. The way you compile those 140 character missives can tell others a great deal about your personality. Likewise, what you tweet about in between professional stuff will round you out as a person and make you that much more interesting to your followers. So if you just had a great golf game, drop a tweet about it. Share articles about your non-professional hobbies and interests, comment on a great TV program or movie you've watched recently, or get into the habit of making funny observations about your daily life. Ultimately people want to connect with real people. It will also give hirers looking at your profile some idea of how you'll interact with others in their workplace if they hire you.
A great way to start engaging with people on Twitter is to simply re-tweet tweets you find interesting or significant, or comment on a tweet they've made. Even if it's just to say 'thanks for the great information'. People notice followers who do that, and if you do it regularly enough, they'll begin to remember you. However, be sure you don't overdo it. Don't re-tweet every single thing they tweet. Don't get involved in conversations simply to blow your own trumpet.
Get involved with the intention of providing value and in doing so, you'll be perceived as someone of value worth following (and employing). Happy twittering (and tweeting).