Twitter is a popular social media platform that allows users to send and read short messages (140 characters or less) called tweets. Like other social media sites, Twitter can be used to enhance your personal brand, network and find employment.
Privacy on Twitter
The default setting for Twitter is public. This means that anyone, whether or not they have a Twitter account, can view a tweet. Twitter also gives users the option to make their tweets protected. Tweets shared from a protected account can only be viewed by the user’s approved Twitter followers and are not searchable. Making an account protected on Twitter limits its use as a networking tool since businesses and other users cannot see posted tweets (Twitter Help Center, 2016). However, protecting an account is a good option if the user has made regrettable tweets in the past.
Using Twitter to Find Employment
Twitter is most effective as a job search tool when users engage with it before their job search begins. Twitter has enormous potential for building a professional social network, but cultivating a network takes time. Below are a few tips for using Twitter to build a professional network:
- Use a professional photo. Depending on your industry, it may be a good idea to invest in professional headshots. If you are unsure about what picture to use, take a look at images used by others in your industry to get a sense of what is appropriate (Jacoway, 2015).
- Be conscious about what you tweet and think about how a tweet might reflect your personal brand. Take time to create original content rather than just retweeting what others have said.
- Even though Twitter allows tweets up to 140 characters long, consider keeping your Tweets under 120 characters. This way if you are retweeted, there is still room for your Twitter handle. A strong Twitter handle includes your first and last name or your first and last name plus profession if you have a common name.
- Use key words in your Twitter bio to optimize your ranking in search results (Carson, 2014).
- Use your Twitter bio to drive interested users to websites where they can learn more about you. For example, include a link to your LinkedIn profile or blog.
- Follow companies, recruiters, publications and industry leaders and engage with them by liking, retweeting and commenting on what they post. Most users don’t engage with companies more than once. Repeat postings at a company might solicit positive attention (Che, 2015).
- If you follow a lot of different Twitter users, your feed can quickly become overwhelming. Don’t miss important tweets by sorting the companies or people you are most interested in working for into lists. This will help you manage all the Twitter “noise” (Che, 2015).
- Many large companies will create a Twitter handle specifically for their job postings. For example, if you are interested in working for Hilton you would follow @hiltoncareers.
Even if you are not interested in using Twitter to build a professional network it can still be useful for learning about employers. When applying for a job, see if the company or hiring manager has a Twitter account and tailor your cover letter and resume to reflect what you learn through this research. Using Twitter to research a company can be especially useful when it comes time for the interview. Some businesses encourage their employees to tweet about the company to help build the company’s brand (Schiff, 2013). Reading the tweets of employees gives insight into the company’s culture and can give you an edge during the interview.
Carlson, M. (2014). Five Twitter tips that will enhance your personal brand. Retrieved from: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240642
Che, J. (2015). Twitter is the best job search tool you’re not using—Here’s how you can. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/16/twitter-job-search_n_7571260.html
Schiff, J.L. (2013). Fourteen ways to use twitter to market your business. Retrieved from http://www.cio.com/article/2380667/twitter/14-ways-to-use-twitter-to-market-your-business.html
Twitter Help Center. (2016). About public and protected Tweets. Retrieved from: https://support.twitter.com/articles/14016