The first time a prospective freelance client said to me, "I checked out your Twitter profile and liked what I saw", I was somewhat taken aback. Twitter, for me, had not been a job seeking tool, but an outlet, a way to connect with friends and interesting people – the thought of attracting employers hadn’t crossed my mind. But Twitter is a powerful tool, when used right, in finding work – whether you’re looking for a new corporate role, an internship, freelance opportunities, or any other variant for that matter.
If you’ve not yet started using Twitter as a job seeking tool, then here are some ideas to get started.
Be an active part of the communities that matter
Twitter is the best real time social media outlet available, and a great way to link up to the communities that matter to you. A quick search will help you find the groups, businesses and individuals you would be interested in following - think about local organisations, professional bodies, industry experts and magazines.
To make Twitter a useful job hunt tool, though, following alone is not enough. Although you may glean some interesting insights, you won’t really step into the community unless you comment, join the debate, and share relevant content yourself. Like and retweet tweets that interest you, reply if you have something to add to the conversation, and tag others in shares of articles or information you think they might find interesting.
It’s a network – build it!
The main reason you need to reach out to make Twitter work for you in your job hunt is that it is a network. And like a physical network, it won’t happen by accident. Select carefully the businesses and individuals you would like to follow, and don’t be afraid to say ‘hi’ or share ideas with them.
Twitter can also be a great place to reach out to find a mentor. Join in the conversation with anyone you think might be a great industry mentor, and reach out to them. Be confident but realistic in your choice – if you want to get into the music industry then finding a relevant producer or manager to link with is probably more realistic than becoming BFFs with Beyoncé.
Link your online presence
Twitter doesn’t exist in isolation – and has its limitations naturally because of the short message form. See your online presence as a whole, and use Twitter to point people back to your more substantial content such as your personal blog, website or LinkedIn profile. If your job hunt is not confidential, then you could always simply tweet about your search and link prospective employers to your profile directly.
See also: 10 Ways to Use Social Media to Get a Job
Use hashtags to search
If you’ve started following relevant companies and individuals, then you are likely to see job ads before they make an impact on job boards, and businesses tend to tweet roles out. You can further support your job search with some simple searches on relevant keywords and hashtags. This takes some experimenting, but if you start with a simple search of ’jobs’ and your location, and then refine the search from there to reflect the industry you are interested in, you can save the searches for future use easily.
Depending on the industry, you may also find that someone else has done this stage for you – there are industry specific sites that filter out all the tweets regarding developer jobs, for example, so you simply need to scan the site rather than run your own search. A check over at Google should show if this is a possibility for your desired role or industry.
The final – but crucial – advice for job hunting on Twitter is to be real. Twitter is a relaxed and informal medium. Think carefully about your profile picture, bio and the content you choose to tweet and share, but remember the tone overall tends to be conversational rather than formal.
Armed with some simple ideas, Twitter can be a powerful ally in job hunting – use it in conjunction with your other social media channels for maximum effect, and get stuck in.