Twitter is becoming a huge platform for communicating succinct, striking and captivating messages – all in 140 characters or less. It affords you the opportunity to display your brand, express your career goals, and share your knowledge within your chosen audience and environment.
Watch and learn
Twitter is also a setting where many corporations are now releasing their crucial business and financial reports, which provide a goldmine for research when performing due diligence into a potential employer.
In addition, you can find job listings on Twitter that don’t appear anywhere else.
Search and discover
You can use the Twitter search box in the upper-right hand corner to look for people, topics, discussions, news and postings related to a field, industry, function or company. Or try Twitter’s Advanced Search (learn more about how to use search operators).
Hashtags are another useful tool for uncovering opportunities, as you can see all tweets tagged with a key phrase, e.g., #engineer #toronto #job.
Twitter chats are real-time gatherings of people all tweeting around a specific hashtag. There is usually a moderator and a set agenda, with a guest expert and/or the participants answering a set of questions.
These chats can help you make new connections, gain valuable advice, and market your own expertise with articulate answers to the questions. Pam Ross has a complete primer on participating in Twitter chats.
Social media dashboards like Hootsuite and TweetDeck allow you to create a customized view of certain people, saved search terms, hashtags, etc. Other tools like TweetChat and tchat help you monitor and participate in Twitter chats.
These tools all open up possibilities to discover new people and opportunities, and to converse with people. Be disciplined in your approach and don’t follow people aimlessly. Definitely follow the companies you want to work for. Along with LinkedIn, Twitter gives you the chance to uncover key decision makers within those companies.
Market and target
To market yourself effectively on Twitter, choose a Twitter name that’s very close to your own name. You want people to immediately recognize you. Your Twitter profile page and your tweets are indexed by Google, so include the keywords you want to be known for.
Take advantage of the options to customize the layout of your Twitter profile page. Aside from a professional photo, you can also upload a header photo and choose a theme colour. You want your Twitter profile to seduce people to want to connect with you.
Posting on Twitter also affords you the opportunity to be a subject matter expert by sharing links to articles. Add your own comments, and ask engaging questions to solicit comments and start conversations.
Use a link-shortening tool like http://bit.ly to help you stay within the 140-character limit. Bit.ly also monitors how many times each of your links is clicked. That helps you determine the type of content your audience finds most valuable, so you can keep sharing similar links.
Remember the hashtags we talked about earlier? Well, by inserting those into your own tweets, you’ll be seen by people searching those terms, and this further markets you as an expert. Just don’t overdo it – one or two hashtags per post is plenty!
Twitter fits perfectly into your efforts to target specific influencers and hiring decision makers. While platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook require the other person to approve before you can connect with them, on Twitter you can follow anyone you want.
You can gradually and deliberately get someone’s attention by interacting with their tweets. Use the Twitter RT (Retweet) button to forward their post to your own network (they will be notified).
Better still, use your social media dashboard to turn the RT into a quote and add your own comments and ideas. The person will still be notified, and you will be adding to the conversation.
(Note: If you need to change the original quote at all, e.g., to make room for your own comments, change RT to MT, standing for Modified Tweet.)
You can also Favourite a tweet, which is similar to a “Like” on Facebook (the person is also notified). If you want the person to be notified but you do not want a permanent visible record of everything you’ve liked, simply toggle the star icon off and the tweet will disappear from your list of favourites.
Twitter is a very effective platform to market yourself as an expert, and you never know who’ll see you – maybe your future boss!