A Twitter account, like most things online, can be the proverbial double-edged sword.
- An active Twitter presence is a very good thing for a job seeker to have. It demonstrates understanding and shows participation in the online conversation.
- On the other hand, a badly-done, poorly-managed, or out-dated Twitter presence can hurt a job seeker.
A Twitter account is not always a “good thing” for a job seeker, depending on how it is managed.
Let’s say that, on Twitter, you enjoy connecting with friends, using colorful language, sharing outrageous opinions and discoveries, discussing (or arguing about) sports and politics, and a million other things. No topic is too sensitive or controversial for you to tweet about.
Do you think potential employers may see your tweets, particularly after you have submitted a resume to them? Yes, they very likely do see those tweets.
Assuming you are not looking for a job tweeting for a business or doing colorful writing, do you think these tweets are helping your job search? Depending on your job search goals, those tweets may not be helping.
For example, let’s say your resume shows that you are an expert in IT project management. Your LinkedIn Profile confirms significant relevant experience and accomplishments. And your activities on LinkedIn – your connections, recommendations, and participation in Groups and Answers – support and demonstrate your expertise. (Excellent! You read and implemented the tips in Social Proof: Linked(In) to Your Resume.)
Should you stop tweeting about the things you love and want to share with your family and friends. Maybe and maybe not.
So, what should you do?
If you enjoy Twitter for personal use – sharing your opinions on many things, people, sports, and political and religious issues - think about having a second “business-only” account which supports your job search and career.
Since a Twitter account is either “public” or “private,” consider having 2 Twitter accounts – a public account for your job search and private one for your family and friends. So, one account is the business-only account that is a public account while the personal account is private.
Or, keep your personal account public and simply set up a separate business account which is also public.
If you choose to use Twitter only for your personal amusement, disconnect or – don’t connect – that Twitter account and your LinkedIn Profile, and, if possible, don’t use your “professional” name on the personal account.
Twitter Can Be “Social Proof” of Your Resume and Your Expertise
With your “business-only/professional/job search” Twitter account, you can enhance and demonstrate what your resume tells potential employers:
1. Combine your “clean” professional name plus @Username SEO for the greatest impact on the professional/job search Twitter account.
Perhaps, continuing with the IT project manager example, you could establish the Twitter account’s Username as “ITProjectManager” (if it was available). So all of your tweets would come from @ITProjectManager. Nice keywords for search, and good for personal branding as well as SEO (“Search Engine Optimization”). Then, you could use your real name (e.g. Mary Jane Smith) for the Twitter Name on the account, connecting the two (more good SEO). So, when someone visited your Twitter account, they would see: @ITProjectManager Mary Jane Smith.
(Read about “Defensive Googling” to understand why a clean name is important today, and read the 8 Twitter Power SEO Tips for Job Search post for more information about putting SEO to work for you on Twitter.)
2. Follow – and connect with – the “thought leaders” in your profession.
Stay up to date with what is going on. Often you can interact with the thought leaders on Twitter which is a good way to become “known” in the larger professional community. Since many people follow them, such interactions can bolster your professional reputation online. And be very good networking!
3. Share good information, on topic, using a professional tone.
Be on the lookout for good articles and information relevant to your profession (set up Google Alerts for “news” on your profession and relevant topics). Tweet and generously ReTweet good information which is on topic about your profession and/or industry.
In general, I think it’s a good idea to stay positive. Try not to spread unsubstantiated rumors and gossip. Stick to news and solid information that will help people.
4. Follow the employers who are your targets.
Many, MANY employers tweet their job postings on Twitter, so it’s a great source of job leads. Search Twitter for the names of employers who interest you. You’ll find individual tweets and you will also find Twitter accounts. These will help you stay up-to-date on the latest news from the employer, and it may also help you connect with someone who already works for the employers you want.
@JobHuntOrg on Twitter created several popular Twitter Lists, and the most popular is Employers-Recruiting on Twitter – nearly 500 employers tweet about their job openings, career fair participation, and other information about their recruiting. Check it out, and follow the List or pick out the employers who interest you from those the List follows.
5. Stay active on Twitter.
Tweeting at least 5 times a day keeps you involved and visible. It also helps you stay up-to-date with your field and to demonstrate that you are up-to-date.
Savvy use of social media is a job skill growing in importance! So, your skillful use of Twitter and LinkedIn is “social proof” that you understand today’s online social world. It will help you in your job search, whether you are 24 or 64.
© Copyright, 2012, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has 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. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.