Twitter is another social networking site that has become immensely popular and while there can be a fair amount of noise, when used properly it can be extremely helpful in your job search if you know how to follow and filter. Twitter is a ‘micro-blogging’ service where posts are limited to 140 characters. By “following” others on Twitter, you are notified of their “Tweets” as your followers are notified of yours. These shared messages create a rich network of inter-connectivity in a beneficial way.
Just like using LinkedIn, Twitter is all about constant updates. The more you communicate back and forth with connections, the more people you’ll find and the better relationships you’ll form. The goal of Twitter is an ever-expanding circle of contacts that can be utilized at any given point to help you find a job, share resources, or broaden your network. Twitter’s degree of potential benefit—like all social media sites—is entirely dependent on your personal effort.
Social media is effective for your job search because it is exactly that — social. It expands your world beyond the people you meet in class or at an internship to a much wider network of possibilities and it gives you tools to sort through all of that information to target and find exactly what you are looking for. You will meet people by participating in tweet chats, on hashtags and in general conversation. It’s up to you to take it to the next level. Direct message someone and ask them to meet you for coffee and then get to know what they do. Again, social media is not a self-centered medium. You need to have a genuine interest in the people you meet and the information they have to share with you.
Make Career Connections
By “tweeting” about the specific goals of your job search (e.g. “Looking for an entry-level copyright/trademark litigation paralegal position near San Francisco”), you are asking a diverse pool of contacts for help. The more people you are connected with on Twitter, the better these efforts at requesting specific information will turn out.
Another strategy is to simply Tweet related content and start a conversation with other professionals. If you establish yourself as a competent industry expert in these conversations, you’re bound to make useful career connections.
One difficulty of Twitter can be the “white noise” generated by such a huge network of people, many of whom use it for personal and non-professional needs. To use Twitter effectively, you need explicit focus on certain career goals; otherwise, it’s a bit too easy to get lost among the chaos. One such method is the use of “hashtags,” which are searchable terms that the user includes in their tweets. For example, if you’re tweeting an article about getting a summer associate job at a law firm, you might want to add #summerassociate, #jobsearch, #career, #legaljobs, etc. Hashtags allow people to search for certain terms in the Twitter universe to focus on one or two specific topics. Therefore “cutting through the white noise” and building a community around similar interests. Hashtags can be very useful for this, but should be used strategically. Your tweets don’t need to be a long string of hashtags. Twitter is far more effective for people who filter their views to see the information they are targeting.
A Quick List of Things to Try on Twitter
- Tweet on a regular basis about topics that interest you.
- Follow the links that others tweet and read/process the content.
- Use hashtags to tag your tweets so that other people know what your brand is – what you know.
- Use url shorteners like bit.ly to make the most of 140 and track your clicks.
- Solicit resources from colleagues.
- Use search engines like wthashtag.com and wefollow.com to find influential tweeters in your industry.
- Join a twitter chat and contribute your opinion.
- Watch the trending topics to stay involved.
- Try applications like Twitterrific and HootSuite to manage your account.
- Show your personality through your tweets while still being professional.
A Quick List of Things NOT to Try on Twitter
- DON’T use applications that let you auto-follow and auto-unfollow other people
- DON’T send more than 20% of your tweets about you and what you do.
- DON’T use all 140 characters. If you do, people will have a hard time retweeting you.
- DON’T automatically send direct messages to everyone who follows you, unless you have something meaningful and unique to say to the follower.
- DON’T tweet about meaningless things. Personal updates once in a while are fine, but keep your tweets focused on something interesting to other people.
- DON’T add hashtags to your tweets for the sake of it – use with discretion.
- DON’T feel that you need to reply to EVERYONE who mentions you. If you want to reply to someone, focus on the people who took the time to personally send you a direct message first.
- DON’T forget that you are on Twitter to brand. Make sure your Twitter profile is filled out completely and links to your other social networks (especially LinkedIn).
- DON’T be offended if someone unfollows you. It’s all part of the process.
- DON’T get lost in the popularity battle. Focus on content, not follower ratios.
Success on Twitter is not dependent on the number of followers you have or the number of people you follow. If you are new to Twitter, followers are a big deal. You’re spending a good amount of time tweeting to an audience of five or ten and you may feel a little lost in the noise. While it can be frustrating, it is more important for you to have ten engaged followers than a million who aren’t.
Stress about who you follow, not who follows you.
Who to Follow
There are several websites that will help you find people worth following. They allow you to search by industry and interest among other things. Below is a short list of websites you should investigate.