Recruiters and potential employers search Google for job candidates, even in this economy, and Google loves Twitter. So, by leveraging search engine optimization (SEO) techniques in Twitter, you can make it easier for them to find you, not only in Twitter but also in Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.
As a job seeker, you want to be found if someone searches on the job title you want, your profession or industry, and also your name. Your Twitter account will be helpful for you even after you’ve found that next job. Recruiters and employers are always searching for good people, so this account can become a major long-term asset to your career:
- People Googling your keywords (your job title, profession, industry, etc.) will find you because your Twitter account will appear in the search results, if you have used those keywords as described in the rest of this article.
- People Googling your name will find your Twitter account in the search results if you have used your name as part of your Twitter identity.
Accessing Your Twitter Account Settings
To implement the tips 2 thru 4, you’ll need to access the “Account” tab page of your Twitter settings. First, login to your Twitter account. Then, click on “Settings” in the links at the top right of your Twitter page to
access this page - http://twitter.com/account/settings It should look like this:
The information collected on your Twitter Account page (above) is displayed on your Twitter pages, with most of it visible on your Twitter Profile page (see Guy Kawasaki’s Profile page below as an example). When you are logged in to your account, you can see what others see by clicking on “Profile” at the top of the page.
Power SEO for Twitter
1. Your Twitter Username (@YOU)
Use your real name, your profession, or your personal brand for your Twitter Username.
Your Twitter Username establishes your Twitter URL (e.g. twitter.com/GuyKawasaki or twitter.com/PublicityHound) and is your public name in Tweets (e.g. @GuyKawasaki or @PublicityHound). So focus on maximizing the SEO benefit and the branding of your URL. Imagine Tweets coming from you as: @MarketingGuru, @FinancialWhiz, @EcommercePMP, @ProfitManager, @NYCityCPA, or something similar and appropriate for you.
In general, think long term, but, if you must, Twitter does allow you to change your Twitter Username later. Best not to intend to do that when you start, but if you didn’t get off to a great start, you can still recover.
Twitter allows a total of 15 letters and numbers in this field. Spaces are not accepted here, but underscores may be used to separate words or letters or numbers. You have 4 basic options for your Username:
- Your name is probably the best Username you can have if your profession isn’t easily identified in 15 letters or fewer, if you are relatively well-known in your field, or if you want to become relatively well-known in your field.
- Your name + professional designation strengthens the connection between the two, particularly when there are in-bound links to your Twitter Username from outside of Twitter. Those links will usually use your Twitter Username for the text that is clicked.
Add a relevant and accurate job-related keyword to your user name, like [name]CPA, [name]PMP, [name]PhD, whatever is accurate and appropriate, for a little added marketing zing.
- Your profession may be the best choice for your job search because it loudly broadcasts what you do. If you use your profession here, use your real name in the Name field (see Tip # 2, below), to help Twitter, Google, etc. connect the two.
- Your business or blog/Website name, as below. If you have a business or blog you want to promote with this Twitter account, you can build brand awareness for your business or Website by using your business or blog name as your Twitter Username. By including your name in the “Name” field (see # 2, below), you’ll create some visibility for your name, until you sell your business or Website. Probably not good long-term personal branding for you, however, unless you plan never to sell.
As with your personal email, save the @SexyBlond, @StudlyDudly, and @Colbert4Pres usernames for fun, not for your job search. And, don’t add your real name to those non-job-search accounts, unless you want that connection made for recruiters and employers.
2. Your Twitter Name
Use your name, your profession, and/or other relevant keywords in the “Name:” field in your Twitter Settings, depending on what you are using in the Username field.
This field is 20 characters long, and will accept spaces and punctuation marks in addition to the usual letters and numbers.
When someone visits your Twitter account, they usually see your Profile page which displays your Name followed by your Username in parenthesis at the very top of the browser (the page “title” in HTML-speak) . The words and the order of the words in your Twitter Profile page title are very important to search engines and to Twitter search.
Put your most important keywords first. That’s probably your profession or profession and location. PR expert Joan Stewart, right, is the “Publicity Hound” – the name of her business and her Website. So, Joan uses both names in her Twitter Profile.
See the examples below for more options and ideas.
Your keywords are the words you want to describe you. Keep in mind that, in our example, Guy Kawasaki is already his own “brand” name. For him, repeating his name is just good SEO because people will probably be searching for him using his name as the keywords. Most of us are not in that position.
Assuming your name is Mary Jane Smith (work with me here, guys) and you are a CPA in NYC, here are some examples with options to consider:
[FORMAT: Twitter "Name" (Twitter "Username"), as they will appear at the top of the Twitter Profile page and be read by the search engines]
- Mary Jane Smith (MaryJaneSmith) – name used in both fields, Name and Username
- Mary Jane Smith (MJSmithCPA) – name plus name variation with profession
- Mary Jane Smith (NYCityCPA) – name plus location with profession
- Mary Jane Smith CPA (MJSmithCPA) – name with profession plus name variation with profession repeated
- New York City CPA (MaryJSmith) – location and profession plus name
- New York City CPA (MJSmithCPA) – location and profession plus name variation with profession repeated
Options you have:
- If you’ve used your name for your Username, the Name field provides you with the opportunity to add some differentiation and marketing (e.g. New York City CPA in the last 2 examples above).
- If your Username is not your name, put your name in this field enabling Google (and Twitter search) to find your Twitter account if someone uses your name in a search query.
If you are like me and many others, your name is relatively common. Differentiate yourself by adding your middle initial or even your middle name for all your online activities. Then, use that name consistently with Facebook, LinkedIn, email, etc. to establish a consistent “brand name” for yourself.
You can change this Name at any time, but it’s wise to stick to one version of your name for consistent branding. Having a unique name is becoming increasingly important when recruiters Google job seekers.
If you have a common name, your identity may be mixed up with the identity of someone who has a bad reputation. See the Online Reputation Management for Job Search for more information.
3. Your Location
Include where you are living or the location where you want to work.
This is a very important keyword or keyword phrase, particularly for job seekers.
You can see that Joan Stewart has proudly indicated she is in Port Washington, WI. If anyone searches through Twitter, Google, or other search engines for people in Port Washington, Joan will show up.
Guy gives his location as “United 3B” which sounds like he lives in first class on United Airlines. Or, at least that’s where he was when he updated his Twitter Settings. Probably not something most people would search on, but effective and funny for Guy.
4. Your Twitter Web address
Use the “More Info URL:” field in your Twitter Settings to connect your Twitter account to your LinkedIn Profile, your blog, your Website, VisualCV, or other relevant personal Web address.
This will be a live clickable link that you can change as many times as you want to change it. This field accepts only one URL, so pick the one that shows your most professional “face” to the online world for your job search. This is where people will go if they want more information about you.
If you want to connect more than one URL (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.), you may type an additional URL into your Bio. Do use the “real” URL, sans the http://, not a special shortened version in your Bio, unless you are prepared to check it on a weekly or monthly basis to be sure it’s still live.
NOTE: Because of the 140 character limitation for Tweets, URL shortener services (snipURL, TinyURL, etc.) are in widespread use. But, most of those URL’s do eventually expire, leaving links that point to dead ends. So, don’t include them in your “More info URL” or your Bio if you can avoid it.
5. Your Twitter Bio
Put relevant, keyword-rich information in your “One Line Bio” on the Twitter Settings page of your account.
Your goal is to include the kind of keywords an employer would use in a search to find people like you.
Twitter gives you 160 characters to use for your Bio - don’t waste this opportunity! Examples, with the keywords bolded:
Recent college grad, business major, seeking entry level product marketing job w/Fortune 500 co. Intern experience in marketing & sales. Prefer West Coast.
Attorney/corporate counsel w/10 years experience in NYC publishing industry. Skilled w/contracts, IP, & litigation management. Admitted to practice in NY Bar.
Leaving the Bio space empty is worse than having a blank billboard on a busy highway. It doesn’t do you any good, and it could do you some harm. Without some content here, you could look lazy and/or clueless or like someone who doesn’t know what job they want. You may even look like a spammer.
If your Bio is empty, potential employers and followers will not be easily attracted, so a big opportunity will be wasted.
6. Tweet daily, and Tweet on-topic.
Demonstrate your knowledge of your topic, your writing and research skills, and your work ethic, with the Tweets you publish:
- Be a good source of fresh, good, relevant information.
- Link to good information even if you didn’t write it.
- If you have a blog, link to the most relevant postings you make.
- Re-Tweet good content relevant to your topic and/or your target employers and their competitors.
Attract the attention of your target employers with your Tweets:
- If you find a news item, particularly a postive one, about one of your target employers, Tweet about it, including the name of the organization in your Tweet.
- RT positive Tweets by people working for your target employers or about your target employers (see the example in # 7, below).
Employers don’t care what your weather is, what coffee you ordered at Starbucks, or what is happening to your team in the latest round of the championship [fill-in-the-blank] playoffs, etc. UNLESS:
- The weather Tweet demonstrates your knowledge of weather or climatology for your weather forecasting/climatology job search.
- The Starbucks Tweet demonstrates your expertise as a foodie (coffee-ie?), critic, writer, etc.
- The sports event Tweet demonstrates your skill as a sports reporter, umpire, coach, caddie, etc.
You get the idea: If it’s not on-topic for your employment and job search goals, don’t Tweet about it with this account.
BTW, it is probably a good idea to avoid Tweets about “causes” unless you are looking for employment supporting those causes. Again, this is something better pursued with your personal Twitter account, not your “work” account.
7. Make your Tweets keyword-rich.
If you are looking for a job in one of the green industries, be sure to Tweet on the topic using relevant keywords which would include:
- The names of your target employers
- The industry’s or profession’s jargon
- Appropriate professional and industry associations and groups (names and acronyms)
- Important company and individual names in the industry (particularly your target employers, when appropriate).
- Hash mark tags for specific Twitter groups and topics are usually important keywords, like #jobseekers for tweets about job search. [See Susan Ireland's collection of 38 job searchtags marks on Twitter.]
For example, with the keywords bolded:
#environment Green jobs initiative launched in Iowa to encourage energy conservation, use of wind & solar power http://bit.ly…
#apple Apple Computer announced an exciting new product today, according to…
(assuming that Apple Computer is one of your target employers, you’ve used the company name plus the Twitter hashtag for Tweets about the company.)
8. Link back to your Twitter account.
People underestimate how important this step is. If you have a blog or a Website, link back TO your Twitter home page – http://Twitter.com/[your Username] - to encourage people to follow you and to build the search engine “credibility” of your Twitter home page. Add your Twitter URL (twitter.com/Username) to your email signature, to comments you make on blogs, articles you write, etc.
The more links to your user name, using the user name as the click-able text, the greater the ”credibility” it has with Google and other search engines.
The more “credible” your Twitter home page is, the more likely it is to turn up in a Google search.
Bonus: Structure your Tweets carefully, particularly the first few words.
Twitter turns the first 50 characters in each Tweet into the Web page title for that Tweet. This means that the first 15 to 25 characters of each Tweet (depending on the number of characters of the Tweeter’s Name) are picked up as the page’s title - a very important field to Google and most search engines, helping them understand what the Tweet is about.
For example, using one of Joan Stewart’s Tweets:
9 proven headline formulas that sell like crazy. http://ow.ly/fA0O
The TITLE of that Tweet generated by Twitter:
Twitter / Joan Stewart: 9 proven headline formulas
You can see that Twitter includes the content in the Name field in the page title of each invidual Tweet, as above.
With all the things you have to juggle while Tweeting (fitting into the character count limit, using the best keywords, leaving enough space for Re-Tweets, etc.). I wouldn’t obsess about this one – that’s why it’s number eight. Just keep it in the back of your mind when you are Tweeting, and try to keep the most important words first, if you can.
The more you understand about search engines, the better off you will be, particularly when you are job hunting.
If you find entries in the search results you don’t like when “vanity Googling” (searching Google on your name), you can supplant those over time with good content, like your blog and Tweets. It takes time, but it can be done. Might as well start now building a strong first page of Google results.
Good luck with your job search!
(c) Copyright 2009. Job-Hunt.org All rights reserved.
About the author and list compiler…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joycehas been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 1998, her company, NETability, Inc. purchased Job-Hunt.org, and Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt since then. For the latest news and updates, follow Susan on Twitter @JobHuntOrg.