How to Use Twitter for Job Searching

By Now I’m guessing you’ve heard about twitter and more specifically about #IkoKaziKE Hashtag, if not, check it here #IkoKaziKE.

Twitter can be an excellent resource for your job search, introducing you to new people, organizations, ideas, and, of course, jobs. Twitter also provides you with a valuable tool – used correctly, of course – for building your online reputation and bringing you to the attention of employers and recruiters.

The foundation of using Twitter for job searching is having your own professional, PUBLIC Twitter account.  Twitter does allow you to make your tweets “private” so that only people following you (whom you approve to follow you) may see your tweets.  But that beats the point when you are looking for a job because you’ll need maximum exposure so as to reach potential employers. Private tweeting won’t help your job search.

Creating and Optimizing your Twitter Account

TO use twitter for job search, you’ll need an account, a professional account in this case, one that won’t work against you when an employer looks you up. So, if you’re a sports banter guru, animal lover, partyholic, or a political/religious zealot, best to share that part of your personality in a separate Twitter account, unless you are looking for a job associated with your favorite sport, drink, party/cause, religion, etc.

Twitter Profile

1.  Twitter Username – e.g. @JohnDoe

Twitter requires that each Username must be unique, so pick one that supports your job search for as long as possible.  Usernames may be changed later, if needed, but the change can confuse your followers. Remember to keep it short, memorable, and descriptive.
Choose a name that is appropriate for you and your future job/career. Examples of very good Twitter usernames are (which are excellent accounts for job seekers to follow, by the way):

  • Descriptions of what you do professionally e.g. @MikeArtist, @BrianDroid…
  • Your name e.g. @MikeKinyua @DavidKuria @SharonK

Twitter allows you 15 characters for your Username, not counting the @, and any combination of upper and lower case letters you want.  They only “symbol” allowed, however, is the underscore, and I would avoid using that simply because it usually makes typos inevitable.
If your name is already taken by someone else, or if you like the added keywords, adding your professional designation to your name strengthens the connection between the two, particularly when there are in-bound links to your Twitter Username from outside of Twitter. Those external links will usually use your Twitter Username for the text that is clicked.
Add a relevant and accurate job-related keyword to your user name, like [name]CPA, [name]PMP, [name]MBA, whatever is accurate and appropriate AND relevant for your job search, for a little added marketing zing.

2.  Twitter Account Name

This is what goes beside your Username on your Twitter bio, and it is also what is shown beside your Username in all of your tweets.  Your Account Name does NOT need to be unique.  If you are like me and many people have the same name, this is very helpful.
Twitter allows 50 characters and spaces for your Account name.

  • It’s advisable to use your real name for your Twitter Account Name. e.g. @SharonK might use Sharon K. Hussein.
  • If you’re a freelancer, you can use this space to give more info about what you do e.g. @BrianDroid might use Brian the Adnroid Developer.

Your options will probably be most influenced by the availability of the @name you want to use. Obviously, any of the options can work.  Choose the one that makes the most sense to you.

3.  Twitter Photo

Each Twitter account has a photo or other image associated with it.  If you don’t provide something. Twitter may feel informal, but when you are in job-search-mode, take it seriously!
Its recommendation to use a headshot photo if you want to keep it professional.  It will make it easy for people to “recognize” you when they see your account.

4.  Excellent Bio plus Location (keywords!)

Keywords, the words used by recruiters and employers to find people with the right skills and accomplishments, are the KEYS to successful job search!  Twitter gives you 160 letters and spaces for your bio that appear at the top center of your Twitter home page.  Very searchable and very noticeable to anyone who sees that page.
So, fill your bio with keywords that describe you and the job you are seeking.  Don’t worry about being cute, funny, or personal.  Worry about being found in a Twitter or Google search by a recruiter – that means, keywords.
And, employers definitely search on location making it a very important keyword.  Use your current location or your target location.

5. Your business or blog/Website name

If you have a business or blog you want to promote with this Twitter account, you can build brand awareness for business or Website by using your business or blog name as your Twitter Username. By including your name in the “Name” field, you’ll create some visibility for your name, until you sell your business or Website. Probably not good long-term personal branding for you, however, unless you plan never to sell.

6. Tweet daily, and tweet on-topic.

Demonstrate your knowledge of your topic, your writing and research skills, and your work ethic, with the tweets you publish:

  • Be a good source of fresh, relevant information.
  • Link to good information even if you didn’t write it.
  • If you have a blog, link to the most relevant postings you make.
  • Re-tweet good content relevant to your topic and/or your target employers and their competitors.

Attract the attention of your target employers with your tweets:

  • If you find a news item, particularly a postive one, about one of your target employers, tweet about it, including the name of the organization in your tweet.
  • RT positive tweets by people working for your target employers or about your target employers.

Employers don’t care what your weather is, what pizza you ordered or what is happening to your team in the latest round of the championship [fill-in-the-blank] playoffs, etc. UNLESS:

  • The weather tweet demonstrates your knowledge of weather or climatology for your weather forecasting/climatology job search.
  • The Pizza tweet demonstrates your expertise as a foodie, critic, writer, etc.
  • The sports event tweet demonstrates your skill as a sports reporter, umpire, coach, caddie, etc.

You get the idea: If it’s not on-topic for your employment and job search goals, don’t tweet about it with this account.
BTW, it is probably a good idea to avoid tweets about “causes” unless you are looking for employment supporting those causes. Again, this is something better pursued with your personal Twitter account, not your “professional” account.

7. “Retweet” and “Like” good content and networking.

When you find a tweet that you like, you have 2 ways to share it, and both can be beneficial for visibility. Since people often pay attention to their Twitter “Notifications” feed, either (or both) liking and retweeting that tweet can bring you to the attention of the person who created (or retweeted) that tweet.
Increase your visibility with the person who sent out the tweet by:

  • Click on the heart icon for a tweet and the person who tweeted it will see that as a like.
  • Click on the “RT” and share the content with your followers and the person will be notified that you did the retweet.

Both of these actions bring you to the attention of the person who sent the tweet, and they are excellent ways to begin building a social relationship with that person. Employers, in particular, tend to pay attention to this kind of activity, particularly as you repeat it over time. Your Twitter name becomes more visible to them, and you attract their attention.
Do this carefully — don’t be nasty or critical if you are trying to connect in a positive way.

8. The Most Important here, Use relevant #Hashtags in your Tweets, in our case, try #IkoKaziKE.

If you’ve been using Twitter for a while, you are familiar with hashtags. By adding a # sign, also known as a “hashtag” to relevant words in your tweets, you will be increasing the probability that your tweets will appear in Twitter searches done by other Twitter users.

  • If you’re looking for a job, visit IkoKaziKE and see if you might find a job that suits your qualifications.
  • If none, post a tweet with your qualifications and the job you are looking for and remember to add the #IkoKaziKE hashtag to it, tweeps are very philanthropic with Retweets and they will always help you out in getting the word out.

If you have room in your tweet, don’t be afraid to use 3 or more hashtags as long as the hashtags are appropriate.

9. Be positive; not negative.

Don’t bad-mouth a previous employer or job. In fact, avoid being negative in your tweets. Maybe that last boss was really a toad, but people will naturally wonder about the “other side of the story” if you tweet bad things about that toad.  So, resist the temptation.

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