Twitter long ago outgrew its juvenile roots as a monument to celebrity narcissism. What was once a forum for mind-numbingly mundane proclamations (“just brushed my teeth!! mmmm minty!!!!”) has become a new source, a marketing tool and even a leader of revolutions. The little social media that could has become a very big social media indeed, one that has fostered truly incredible change in the personal, professional and political spheres.
For me, Twitter has been the game-changer in my career. Don’t roll your eyes just yet. This is not another dream story about someone who joined Twitter and immediately landed a job. I am not trying to say once you join Twitter and follow a few influencers you will land a job. Maybe that happens every now and then, but for me it took time and dedication.
My Twitter-driven job search taught me three important strategies for connecting in 140 characters or less:
Talk to People Not Brands.
Following specific companies you are interested in is great, but tweeting at a company account to ask for a job is likely to be a waste of your efforts. You wouldn’t approach an acquaintance at a party to ask for a job just because her company sounded interesting, so don’t do it on Twitter. You’ll probably never hear back from the company, especially since the account is probably managed by a social media intern with no control over hiring decisions.
Instead, engage with individuals associated with the company of your choice. Check to see if the company lists any employees in its bio, or search the company name to find other affiliates. Then, find a way to join the conversation. Has the company recently unveiled an interesting new product? What was your favorite thing about the company’s last ad campaign? Does the company have a blog? If so, what are your thoughts on a given post? If the company, or its employees, tweet(s) a question, answer it!
Use insightful tweets to build a rapport with different associates. Only ask about specific positions at the company once you’ve engaged meaningfully with a given contact on more than one occasion.
Engage Through Chats.
This is a great way to “meet” a lot of people who are active on Twitter and showcase your interests and knowledge. There are chats about a variety of topics, including ones directed at job-seekers, like the hire Friday chat (known on Twitter as #hfchat). This is a great way to not only network online but to bring the knowledge you have to the table.
Again, this isn’t about asking for a position, but about showing people that you have something meaningful to contribute. Chances are if you show up, listen and have some great things to say in a Twitter chat, people will assume that you have great things to say in person. Once you get into a rhythm of talking to someone and developing a relationship, it is reasonable and appropriate to take the next step and inquire about specific job opportunities.
Link to LinkedIn.
Don’t have a LinkedIn account yet? Well, you have some catching up to do. Recruiters and employers are using LinkedIn, so you should be, too. As I mentioned earlier, a good rule of thumb when it comes to job searching on Twitter is to think about what you would do at an in-person networking event. You should always have a resume handy in case someone should want it, and you would probably bring cards so that people can contact you later. Linking to LinkedIn to your Twitter bio is the same concept. If someone wants to contact you via Twitter, LinkedIn gives her a means to do so. If someone wants your resume, it’s right there.
When it comes to Twitter and your job search you have to make yourself present, engage in a thoughtful way and showcase your professional background. It is a time investment and it takes more than a few chats, but you will get a chance to tap into a huge network of people who are looking to connect. Along the way, you can build relationships and gain valuable information. People constantly say that most people get a job because they know someone, and Twitter gives you chance to get to know a wide range of people and communities that can help you in finding your next big opportunity.
Sunanda Nair is a social media and technology fanatic. She also has experience in marketing and sales. Her use of twitter has enabled her to secure interviews with various companies and she has been hired directly because of her interactions on twitter. She works as a social media marketing consultant and is currently on the look out for a full time position. In her free time she enjoys running and everything that involves the University of Michigan, her alma mater. You can find her tweeting here.