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Use Twitter to Generate Job Leads

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twitter-jobsBy Francesca Catalano
Faculty Director, School of STEM at American Public University

How can you use a social media platform confined to 140 characters to land your dream job? Easily! Twitter is an effective and useful tool for developing professional connections and following companies targeted for employment as well as a powerful platform to search for job openings.

[Related: How Often Should I Update My Resume?]

Social recruiting is not confined to LinkedIn. Here are some approaches that may help you find that position of your dreams:

  1. Develop a professional Twitter handle complete with a professional picture. The most important thing to remember when using social media professionally is to separate personal and professional accounts.The professional account doesn’t have to be only work-related – adding tweets about a hobby or two can add personality and depth to the profile– but be judicious about posting controversial topics or overly personal tweets. This separation will also allow for one account that is not diluted by random tweets from friends or family and keeps the purpose of the account focused on job searching.The key to a professional social media account is investing in a professional headshot. The value of this cannot be understated; there is only one chance at a first impression. This picture can also be used in LinkedIn, added to a resume or used in many other professional contexts.
  2. Follow different companies within your target industry. When you follow accounts, Twitter will recommend others that are related and that might be of interest. Follow them all. Consider creating lists that will help organize these into related groups.Many firms have a Twitter presence and reading tweets is an effective way to get a sense of the company culture. Most importantly, firms often use Twitter to post open positions. This is a very cost effective way for them to passively search for candidates and can be one of the first public postings for a job opening. Take advantage of that!Companies may also tweet out information regarding internal job fairs or conferences the firm will be attending. All of these things allow for Twitter to be used to collect important information about your field in general or target companies in particular.
  3. Follow the leaders in your field. Chances are that they may post open positions at their firms. Better yet, they may even follow back. If they follow back that is a great opportunity to develop a networking connection or a mentoring relationship.Connections have a way of opening up all kinds of opportunities and the time investment is worth it. Also, see who these leaders follow to find companies you may not be familiar with or other industry leaders who might be worth the connection.
  4. Search! The strength of Twitter is its hashtag search engine. Do a search to find jobs opportunities. Be creative in how you search as posts may use different hashtags to represent the same things. For example, if you are looking for a job as a science writer, try searches like #sciencewriting #STEMwriter #technicalwriting
  5. Research! Once you have an interview scheduled, use Twitter to research the company, the culture, and the leaders who make hiring decisions. It’s a unique lens to get a very particular viewpoint on your target.

Yes, it is possible to find a job using a platform that is restricted to 140 words.

About the Author: Francesca Catalano holds a doctorate in molecular biology from Loyola University Chicago and a law degree from DePaul College of Law. She is a Faculty Director and hiring manager for two programs in the school of STEM at American Public University System

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