I confess, Twitter is my absolute favorite social network. Most professionals view LinkedIn as essential for everyone today, job hunting or not, and I concur. But, I think that Twitter is a very close second when used appropriately.
Twitter has helped me connect to the greatest number of people, and, frankly, is the most fun, interesting, and educational social network.
It may seem implausible, but Twitter is excellent for reputation building for your job search, like this 160 character resume (see below).
I've seen job seekers, not understanding how Twitter works for job hunting, misuse it, wasting their time and sometimes hurting their job search, confused about how to use Twitter effectively.
Both your tweets and your Twitter Bio must be focused on the keywords relevant for your job search (described below). Tweet about topics relevant to your job search - your profession and industry, not your personal life - using your keywords.
Search for and find good information and news about your field and your target employers. Follow your favorite blog and news sources and RT (ReTweet) tweets to articles and posts that you find helpful or interesting. Do not RT a post without reading the article first to ensure the quality of what you share.
As you search through Twitter for information and "twits" to follow, you'll probably notice hashtags - the pound sign (#) attached to the front of a word or phrase (without spaces between the words) included in tweets. When you tweet about a topic, add the appropriate hashtag term to the content of your tweet, to make it more find-able. For example, when I tweet about job search, I usually add the #jobs hashtag to the tweet. If the tweet is about resumes, I usually add the #resumes hashtag to the tweet.
Using hashtags in your tweets makes them visible in a Twitter search to people who don't follow you when they search on that term. So it expands the reach of your tweets and will also help you grow your followers.
Stay on-topic for your job search. Yes, your spouse may have fixed you a great breakfast, or your daughter may be amazing. However, unless that breakfast or your daughter are relevant to your job search, don't tweet about them with the same Twitter account you use for your job search.
Don't bad-mouth a previous employer or job. In fact, avoid being negative in your tweets. Maybe that last boss was really a toad, but people will naturally wonder about the "other side of the story" if you tweet bad things about that toad. So, resist the temptation.
With only 140 characters, consistently using your keywords in your tweets is critical. Those keywords attract employers to you and they demonstrate your understanding of your field.
While you are job hunting, your keywords are:
Look at this list of keywords as good places to start when you are looking for Twitter accounts to follow and when you are looking for topics to tweet about.
Think of your Twitter Bio as your personal billboard on the busy Twitter highway.
When you are in a job search, don't waste this great billboard with a description of your dog, cat, kids, or hobby. And don't be vague - "experienced business professional" has absolutely NO keywords in it so that phrase is useless for your job search.
"Keywords" are the words that recruiters use to find the job candidates who are qualified for the jobs they have open. No legitimate recruiter ever searches for an "experienced business professional"! They search for a "social media analyst" or a "content marketing specialist" or a "senior admin assistant" - NEVER for something as vague as "experienced business professional" or WORST OF ALL "unemployed"!
You have 160 characters for your Twitter Bio to attract the attention of employers, so use that very limited space for the keywords that describe you potentially including - IF you are unemployed! - the job title you are seeking and the fact that you are job hunting.
For example, let's assume that you are an IT project manager named Mary Jane Smith who has earned the PMP (Project Management Professional) credential and prefers finance or accounting-related projects. To leverage Twitter for your job search, you would use your keywords this way:
With these keywords in place, Mary Jane Smith will be found on Twitter if she manages to send out as few as 10 tweets a week, tweeting as @ITfinancePMP. And, this Bio is a very good 160 character resume for Mary Jane!
Since Mary Jane is currently employed, she does not indicate that she is looking for a new job (which could cost her the job she has now). But, a new job might find her anyway.
Creative job seekers connect with employers on Twitter every day. In the next posts, I'll describe how they leverage this solid foundation, built above, to make those connections for their next jobs.
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn.