Twitter: Building Yourself In 140 Characters Or Less

Twitter, like so many web 2.0 functions, has become the modern day sandwich board or news ticker or fortune cookie, etc. etc. In 140 characters at a time, you too can carve your niche, find your audience and get something back in the process.

Twitter is growing businesses, from cupcakes to executive coaching. Job seekers are posting their abilities, and recruiters are matching them to pertinent positions. News outlets are again finding relevancy, as the tumultuous industry moves print versions to online (see: Seattle Post-Intelligencer).

And you’ve heard it all before: Twitter is revolutionizing x, y and z. Look what it did for the Iran Election! Local rock bands are posting their next gigs… and people are going! Nomadic food vendors are giving their next locations…and people are going! Professional and motivational speakers are announcing their next conferences…and people are going!

We all knew the internet was something special, but even 10 years ago, we had no idea the power of instant communique! And it has not stopped with bands and food and government overthrows. The job seeker finally has an outlet to show themselves off!

Now more than ever, job seekers are not only finding job opportunities online, but are also marketing themselves online. LinkedIn, blogs and job boards give job seekers the ability to list their credentials in an eye-catching, sometimes witty, but definitely easy-to-see format, rather than just forage for information. Recruiters and employers are much more willing to take a look at something – anything – when it takes 10 seconds. And now, Twitter, whose interface allows users to publish streams of information to their “followers,” is becoming THE spot to pursue job leads, cultivate clients and get your name out there.

Twitter is fairly easy to use. If you want to reply to a fellow Twitterer, use @ and then their “handle.” If you want to repost an interesting tweet, use RT. But one of the most useful functions is the ability to redirect your followers to one of the above mentioned sites – allowing followers to visit blogs and LinkedIn pages they normally would not.

Reporters post links to their stories, companies post their url’s, bloggers post their blogs – the list goes on. Job seekers post links to their actual resumes! “Follow me and see what I can do.” It’s the pied piper of the 21st Century!

Using Twitter To Find A Job

1. Build your network. Challenger coaches advise job seekers to utilize every person in your personal and professional networks. With Twitter, you can grow this network to include hundreds of people.
2. Advertise your job loss. Although a job loss can be a trying, and sometimes humiliating, time for families and loved ones, telling your “followers” that you are looking for a job can be not only therapeutic, but also incredibly useful to finding a new position. Hundreds of recrutiers are on Twitter and have no problem following your tweets. You can cast a very wide net on Twitter with potential to net incredible results.
3. Think before you tweet. Twitter can be as anonymous as you want it to be. However, if you want to find a new position, you might want to spend some time on each tweet. Remember that you’re marketing yourself, you’re a product. Much like with blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., you don’t want to post anything that might cause pause (see: nude or racy photos, questionable content, etc.). Moreover, 140 characters limits your literary ability. What you read as witty, another might read as acerbic. What you think is funny, someone else might thing is offensive. Obviously, you want to show the world your best face, so keep this in mind when fashioning those 140 characters.
There are myriad ways you can utilize Twitter in your job search, so fear not! Keep those tweets coming and watch the job offers come in.

Colleen Madden
Research Consultant

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