In a recent chat about social media, a new client and I discussed the value of LinkedIn and Twitter. “Randy” understood that, just to keep pace with his competition in the job market, he had to have a strong presence on LinkedIn and take advantage of all it has to offer. He had already made some strides with it.
But when it came to Twitter, Randy was adamant. “If you think I’m going to waste my time on Twitter telling people what I had for breakfast, you’re crazy!”
Are you Twitter-resistant like Randy, still sitting on the sidelines, thinking it’s a waste of time, and questioning whether there’s any value at all there?
With more than 60 million users, Twitter is a powerful place to:
- Build credibility, visibility, and evangelism for your brand and unique value proposition,
- Extend your online presence.
- Position yourself in front of employers and hiring decision makers.
- Connect with new communities of subject matter experts and thought leaders, and
- Uncover opportunities that may lead to landing a job.
Many, many employers these days are hanging out on Twitter, tweeting job openings at all levels and tweeting about their organizations. Shouldn’t you be there too, connecting with them, learning from them, and staying top of mind with them?
Where else online (or offline for that matter) can you listen in on and learn from conversations your targeted key decision makers are having, without being invited?
It may take a little time to get the hang of Twitter, but soon it will all click, and you’ll get into a rhythm.
Getting started basics
- Set up your free Twitter account claiming your real name, or variation if yours is taken, for your Twitter @username. Or you may want to choose something highlighting your expertise, like “COOBobJames”, if “BobJames” isn’t available.
- Upload a professional head shot.
- Add a link to your blog or website (if you have one), or Google Profile, LinkedIn Profile, VisualCV, etc.
- Create an abbreviated version (160 character maximum) of your keyword-rich personal brand positioning statement for your Twitter “bio”.
- For now, choose a Twitter background other than the default. You can customize this later.
- Noodle around and get comfortable with how Twitter works.
Building out your network with old friends and fresh faces.
- Friends and colleagues in your existing real-life and online networks.
- Your target employers. See if they’re on Job-Hunt’s list of employers who are using Twitter to recruit.
- Major players and decision makers in your industry.
- Recruiters in your industry. Also look at recruiter Jeff Lipschultz’s list of recruiters.
- Thought leaders, subject matter experts, and other people who are talking about your industry.
- Top career people. Check out Job-Hunt’s 101 Best Twitter Job Search/Career Experts Plus 6.
See my post, Twitter Personal Branding Strategy: The Beauty of a Retweet. If you do nothing else on Twitter, you can get results by retweeting, but don’t stop there.
Use hashtags in your tweets and retweets (RTs) when you can. Read Ben Parr’s (@BenParr) HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Twitter #Hashtags, at @mashable for all the skinny.
Once you build up a strong and diverse following, tweet what kind of job you’re looking for. Put the information out there. Someone may be looking for candidates just like you. Or someone following your tweets may know someone who needs you.
Through the Tweets of those you follow you may uncover job opportunities, plus gather market intelligence and discover challenges facing your target companies which you may be able to help them overcome.
Twitter is all about micro-blogging “tweets” in 140 characters or less. For best impact, Tweet (and RT) content that is consistent with your brand and will be interesting to your followers and relevant to your target audience.
Google indexes tweets, so the more you tweet, the more you’ll expand your online identity.
A few Twitter tips:
Realize that when people look at your Twitter profile page, they’ll see your most recent 20 tweets and the time line and frequency of your postings. Avoid constantly repeating the same tweets.
Include targeted keywords – including company names, products, industry names, and people – in your tweets to lead hiring professionals to you.
Retweet your own important tweets using hashtags with the keywords.
Mix up your tweets for variety:
- Tweets with URLs to relevant articles and blog posts.
- Tweets that demonstrate your knowledge about best practices, trends and events, and position yourself as a subject matter expert.
- Some tweets with relevant and/or inspirational quotes.
If you’re blogging or publishing articles, book reviews, or anything else online, tweet it.
Use Twitter lists to save time and organize users into groups. Search for lists through individual Twitter accounts and by keywords through directories, such as Listorious. Also curate your own Twitter lists.
Use applications such as Tweetdeck to manage your groups of tweeps and to schedule your tweets.
Bring your Twitter stream into your LinkedIn profile (see applications on your LinkedIn home page).
And some Twitter DO’S AND DON’TS from The Twitter Job Search Guide, an extremely valuable resource.
- Brand and Plan. Know who you are and what you want to accomplish on Twitter (networking, job seeking, research/information, fun, all of the above?)
- Choose your identity wisely. Select a professional screen name, whether it’s your first and last name, or a name that captures your brand (CIO_Leader, RockStarPMP, EagleEyeEditor).
- Shoot for a 75%-25% professional-to-personal tweet ratio. Interviewers will review your stream. People get hired for who they are, not just what they do. Your digital footprint is your resume.
- Be visible, viable, and valuable. Tweet with regularity. Make sure your tweets demonstrate your skills and interests. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn occasionally (example, Just finished my xyz training and earned new certification).
- Be worthy of a follow. Engage in interesting conversation and generously offer help, information, job postings, inside leads, lessons learned, shout-outs, retweets, questions, Follow Friday lists, and more.
- Don’t be a downer. Avoid focusing solely on your job search, appearing needy, over-sharing personal information and problems, whining about frustrations, or boss bashing. These are not appealing to potential employers.
- Don’t forget your 15-minutes-a-day plan. Don’t let overwhelm stop you from starting; and once you’re in, don’t get sucked in or lost in the stream.
- Don’t expect Twitter to “work” (land you a job) in 1 day or even 1 week or 1 month. Relationships take time. Be strategic; allow serendipity.
- Don’t forget to ask! For example, Know of great companies in Philly for project mgrs? What’s best advice on dreaded “weakness” question in interviews?
- Don’t forget to follow recruiters, engage in conversation, and share info. Search #splits and send them candidates. They’ll love you!
A caveat: Twitter is just one piece in your executive brand communications plan. It’s way too easy to squander an unfocused hour or more hopping around on Twitter. Develop a time-limiting strategy for Twitter – 15 minutes a day or so should do it.
Your key takeaway here, as with any networking activity – give value to get value.
Join in and begin adding value to your various Twitter communities. Contribute to conversations and start your own. Share your knowledge and learn from your tweeps. You may be surprised by the valuable resources, opportunities, and people Twitter can lead you to that you would otherwise never have come across.