By Meg Guiseppi
In my practice, I rarely come across executive job seekers who are actively leveraging Twitter to help them land jobs.
The few who even have Twitter accounts put up a few tweets initially, and then let it go. Their Twitter stream stopped dead months or years ago.
This doesn't look very good, and could be detrimental to them. A Twitter account that's collecting cobwebs says "I don't really know much or care to know about social media and the new world of work."
Understandably, they're busy people strapped for time, trying to juggle demanding full-time jobs with a full-time job search. They've heard too many people say what a time drain Twitter can be.
They're right. Without a solid Twitter strategy, each visit can easily eat up an hour or more. They just don't have that kind of extra time.
If these clients would tap into the research they've done on the companies they're targeting, they could reap plenty of benefits from Twitter in just 10 to 15 minutes, a few days a week, especially because the majority of job seekers aren't doing anything with Twitter.
Don't start or engage in conversations not related to your job search. No one really needs to know what you had for breakfast or what movie you saw last night.
Keep the majority of your tweets relevant to your personal brand, industry, areas of expertise, and value to your target companies. That doesn't mean you can't tweet off-topics and humorous tidbits, when you have extra time.
Simply the act of tweeting again a tweet that someone else has tweeted, retweeting (abbreviated as "RT") is one of my favorite ways to use Twitter and one of the best ways to save time there.
Even if you do nothing else on Twitter, posting relevant retweets can be a powerful way to build brand evangelism, a quality Twitter following, and get on the radar and stay top-of-mind with people you want to notice you.
First, gather up a long list of the right people to retweet. Who are these people? Colleagues, industry thought leaders and subject matter experts, top-level executives (or hiring decision makers) at your target companies, and executive recruiters in your niche, to name a few.
Search for them on Twitter, follow them, and start retweeting them. It's as easy as that!
It's critical to include in your retweet the @username of the person who originated the tweet, because they'll see the retweet on their "Notifications" page. Chances are you'll get noticed, if enough of your retweets show up there for each person you're retweeting. If a good retweet doesn't mention the original author, take the time to track them down and include their @username.
While retweeting is very effective for sharing good information and gaining attention, it needs to be done carefully or it won't be as effective as it could be:
Retweet using the retweet button that sits under each tweet and on many websites at the top or bottom of an article or blog post make retweeting easy. But sometimes these retweets don't include the @username. Take a few moments to add it in if it's not already there.
Use hashtags in your RTs when you can. The hashtag symbol ("#") is used before a word or phrase (with no spaces) to mark relevant keywords and topics in tweets. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages. Clicking on a hashtagged word in a tweet shows you all other tweets marked with that keyword.
Use Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or another Twitter app to help you organize your time, the people you follow, the people you want to retweet frequently, and to set up retweets in advance.
Do your thank you's for retweets, #FollowFridays (#FF), and other mentions all in communal tweets, every few days. No need to thank each person in a separate tweet.
Consult the Twitter Help pages for specifics on using re-tweets, hashtags, and other things.
Chances are, most recruiters and many employees at your target companies are active on Twitter, posting job openings and information related to the jobs you want. Isn't it worth carving out a little time each week to spread the word on Twitter about your personal brand and value to your target employers?
Meg Guiseppi, Job-Hunt's Personal Branding Expert and 20+ year careers industry veteran, has earned 10 certifications, including Reach Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Reach Social Branding Analyst – LinkedIn Profile Strategist, and Certified Executive Resume Master. Meg is the author of "23 Ways You Sabotage Your Executive Job Search and How Your Brand Will Help You Land." Connect with Meg at ExecutiveCareerBrand.com for c-suite personal branding and executive job search help and on Google+ and Twitter (@MegGuiseppi). And, you may also download Meg's free ebook - Job-Hunt Guide to Smart Personal Branding with LinkedIn.