Twitter is the most rapidly adopted communication tool in history, going from zero to 10 million users in just over two years. On Twitter, word can spread faster that wildfire – according to Shel Israel, social media writer and author of Twitterville. Ironically, though, when I am discussing Twitter with friends, family and even colleagues, I’m often asked, “What is Twitter?”
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a short messaging system that can quickly get information out to a small or large group of people. With only 140 characters per message, Twitter users often include links to web sites to provide further information for their readers. But, more importantly, Twitter is a community where people connect to stay informed about what is going on around them.
Twitter can be used for a number of purposes, including:
- Networking/Social Messaging – Some have said that Twitter is a cross between blogging and instant messaging. Through Twitter, users can create a spider web of connections with people they know and people they want to know.
- News Reporting – Many people use Twitter for breaking news. I am connected with CNN news and can read news feeds on an hourly base, if I choose.
- Social Media Marketing – Because of the instantaneous nature of Twitter’s messaging, this platform has been adopted by corporations, non-profits, churches and politicians alike to reach targeted audiences. This was most notable when President Barak Obama used Twitter during his election campaign.
Twitter and Your Job Search
When you’re job hunting, Twitter can be an effective tool – especially when you use it to reference and link to all of your other online profiles, i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn (more on that in my next post). It’s a great way to promote yourself, your skills and your knowledge in your career field. It’s also an effective way to network with recruiters and look for job postings.
On the @SodexoCareers Twitter page, we post new job opportunities every day and applicants are able to see the postings as soon as we post them. We also have a Twitter Job Alert page where you can have job listings directed to your account. Better yet, you can download a Twitter app for your mobile phone and get these alerts on the go!
Building Your Brand
As I mentioned last week about your Facebook profile, your Twitter profile needs to be professional in nature. This is where you create your personal brand.
One of the goals of having a Twitter account is to gain followers – as this begins the networking process. If you’re job hunting, you want people in your career field to be interested in following you. You want people to understand who you are and what you do. Here are some tips for creating your Twitter profile:
- Your bio should be a brief elevator pitch, or snapshot, of your goals and skills. For example, “An ambitious culinary arts student seeking a management position in the hospitality industry” or “A savvy IT student interested in building technical solutions for fortune 500 companies.”
- Use a nice head shot photo for you avatar. Keep it professional.
- Create a custom background for your Twitter page where you can add more information about your background and qualifications. If you’re not comfortable using photo editing software, there are a number of web sites that can help. Try one of these sites: here, here and here. Just remember to choose one that is professional.
- Link to your online resume. (Tools like VisualCV or even your LinkedIn profile can help).
- Follow industry experts and recruiters in your career field on Twitter. Tools like Twellow.com can help. Sodexo even keeps a list of all its recruiters using Twitter.
- Tweet information about your career field. Use your status updates to tweet about industry topics, tips, advice. Finding information can be as easy as doing a Google News search or reading trade journals online. Then, you provide your followers with links to the latest and greatest industry news and information. You become someone who is viewed as knowledgeable. Save the posts about your weekend adventures for your private Facebook wall.
- Be consistent across all of your online profiles. For example, use the same profile image on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Use the same bio information. Build your brand.
Connecting with Recruiters
One of the best things about Twitter is that you don’t have to know someone to follow them. So, you can easily follow recruiters who, upon seeing your profile, may decide to follow you back. Once your connection is made, you will have the ability to communicate and send them information about you and your qualifications.
If you’ve already made contact with a recruiter, you can likely find their Twitter handle in the signature on their e-mails. If you don’t know who the recruiters are at a specific company, you can try searching company web sites and blogs, or do a Twitter search. Many recruiters will list their company name and the word “recruiter” in their profile. Another resource to try is The Talent Buzz. The great news is that recruiters are looking for applicants to follow.
Twitter is so much more than an “instant messaging system.” It’s a business tool, it’s a networking tool, it’s a marketing tool and it’s a job search tool. Take the time to learn how to use it. Before long, your profile will be noticed by recruiters. Start today with a professional profile and relevant tweets. In my next post, we’ll talk about LinkedIn and how you can continue to build your professional brand through social media. Until then, have fun!
Derren is the Manager, Diversity Recruiting for Sodexo which is a leader in integrated food service and facilities management. He is responsible for managing the Sodexo Future Leaders Internship Program as well as executing diversity sourcing initiatives for both campus and targeted experienced hires. With over 14+ years of experience with Sodexo, Derren has had great success as a General Manager in the company’s Health Care Services division as well as in several positions within their Talent Acquisition Group. He’s an active corporate partner with the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH). Derren is an AIRS Certified Diversity Recruiter (CDR) and Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR). Follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook, or just Network with Us.