By Cara Barone
With 140 characters or less you can keep up with the latest industry news and start conversations with friends and potential colleagues. Twitter can be an effective resource in your job search, but just as any other type of social media platform, you have to know how to make it work for you.
Kforce Social Media Marketing Manager, Cara Barone, says, step one is to create your Twitter profile using your full name, avoiding nicknames if possible. In your bio or headline, you should add keywords or skills sets that match positions you are interested in.
Barone also says you should include a professional picture of yourself and links to your LinkedIn profile, online resume or blog, if applicable. Unlike Facebook though, you want to adjust your privacy settings for all to see. Barone says, "Don't protect your tweets. You want to be heard on Twitter!"
After you have set up a public profile for all of the "Twitterverse" to see, a best practice is to start tweeting before you actively search for followers. "Ultimately you want to give people a reason to follow you back," says Barone.
Barone suggests tweeting at least 2-3 times a day about anything from industry news to questions you might have for industry experts. "This shows you are actively seeking information and you're up to speed with industry news and want to interact with others," says Barone. "Don't forget to include your own personality when tweeting."
It's important to actively follow individuals and organizations, with the hope they will follow you back. On Twitter, it's important to note that your tweets will only be heard by those that are following you.
You can start by following companies of interest, like-minded professionals, and industry experts. Barone says it's a good idea to organize those Twitter contacts by creating lists. For example, you may want to put industry news organizations in one list and potential employers in another.
"Just remember to focus on the quality of people you follow," says Barone. "You don't want to follow hundreds of thousands of people that are talking about information that isn’t relevant to you."
Tweeting back and forth with like-minded professionals can certainly stir up intelligent conversation, but it may sometimes come as a challenge to get your message across in 140 characters or less. Barone says you don’t have to let the conversation end there. "If you find someone you really want to connect with, ask if they would be willing to chat or email offline to discuss those topics in detail" says Barone.
In addition to engaging in discussions, you can also find plenty of job opportunities through Twitter. Many companies tweet job openings in real-time, so setting up alerts can be beneficial if you are following specific companies you would like to work for. You can also use Twitter Search to follow conversations that include keywords or skills sets of jobs you would like to apply for. Barone says you shouldn't be afraid to tweet about jobs you're looking for either or let your followers know what's going on in your job search.
One of the most innovative resources on Twitter is the use of hash tags. A hash tag is created by including the hash sign (#) in front of a word or phrase, without spaces. This allows Twitter users to create, categorize and follow tweets by topic.
For example, when using Twitter in your job search, include popular hash tags in your tweet that others may be searching for. Hash tags that include a location, skill set or position, such as #Dallas, #Java or #Accountant. Additionally, you can follow popular hash tags such as #Jobs, #Jobhunt, #Jobadvice to learn about job opportunities or advice.
From short online conversations to mastering hash tags, you can continue to build your online brand with Twitter's real-time updates. "It's always changing, but it's an easy and quick way to build your online community," says Barone.
Cara Barone is the Social Media Marketing Manager for Kforce Inc., a professional staffing and solutions firm providing flexible and permanent staffing solutions in the skill areas of technology, finance & accounting and health and life sciences. Cara is responsible for developing and implementing Kforce’s social media strategy across various platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.