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It’s easy to see Twitter as merely a source of amusement—especially if your feed is bogged down with inane, minute-by-minute updates from friends and celebrities. After all, who cares what Nick Nolte had for breakfast or that your cousin lost her keys again?
But Twitter can be so much more than a workday distraction. It can be a powerful career tool. More and more recruiters are turning to social media powerhouses such as LinkedIn and Twitter to find candidates and communicate open positions. Plus, with a little savvy, Twitter can be great for building your network, gaining industry know-how, and uncovering unofficial job leads.
Before you start tweeting your beak off, though, be sure you’re up to date on Twitter etiquette.
1. Be a Pro
Your Twitter profile will be one of the first things a recruiter finds when he Googles you, so from the moment you create an account you should make sure to put your professional face forward.
“Be transparent, be authentic, but be professional,” says Elaine Young, marketing professor at Champlain College. It’s key to build up a catalog of reputable tweets on your feed, as well as follow appropriate users. Start by following industry experts and tracking down relevant articles that you can share and make smart comments on.
2. Do Recon
Cast a wide net by searching for
industry keywords and company names. Plug into Twellowhood to find users indexed by geographic location. Before you start reaching out to individuals, find out what employees at your target companies do on a daily basis: Click on links, read articles, and see what your
potential coworkers are talking about. Best of all, many companies tweet job openings before posting to job boards, so it pays to tune in to the conversation.
3. Be a Sleuth
It’s time to get personal. Now that you’re following the right people, start digging deeper. Scan profiles of recruiters or industry professionals to discover shared interests, and then use that common ground when making an introduction. Or hang on to that information for when you meet in person—at a networking event or informational interview, for example—and toss it into the discussion. Just don’t make it overly obvious that you’ve been stalking them.
You’re armed with some buzz-worthy talking points and you’ve found a few approachable contacts at your dream company. Now what? First of all, take it easy. Engaging doesn’t mean badgering valuable contacts. “Retweet an interesting quote, or send a question about a contact’s specialty,” says Young. “The whole point is to start a conversation.”
5. Get Chatty
Find a Twitter Chat hosted by someone in your field, and join it. Be ready to participate, though—this isn’t the place for wallflowers. Sometimes chats require participants to follow each other, which can be a great resource if you’re hoping to connect with others in the conversation. And after a few pithy contributions to the chat, you might find that @CEOatyourDreamCompany is following you.
— Lindsay J. Westley