We’ve learned a lot about the power of Twitter these past few years, from its strength as a political force to its power as a conveyer of important—and not so always true—information. Those who tweet can correspond directly with others, bypassing some of the traditional forms of communication. While that power may seem useful when trying to reach millions of people, it can also be effective when trying to reach far fewer individuals, especially if those individuals can help you find a job.
If you want to use Twitter as a tool in your job search, be sure you’re using it wisely. No potential employer will be impressed by a steady stream of incoherent rants, absurd statements and misguided attempts at humor. But if you want to include your Twitter name on your resume or profile, there are ways that it can enhance your image.
To help, we’ve listed several do’s and don’ts to follow when creating effective career-minded tweets:
DO say who you are and what you do. Use your real name and don’t get cute with your profile description. It’s OK to label yourself as “Midwest Sales Rep with XYZ Corp.” It doesn’t sound all that sexy but it’s honest and it works. Besides, if someone is scanning Twitter accounts looking for potential hires, your current profile of “Seeking thrills, payin’ bills” won’t do you much good.
DON’T go overboard on the hashtags. While you’ll want to include a few topical references, career-focused tweets aren’t the place for passive-aggressive references. If it’s important, it should be in the body of the tweet. You can use hashtags to align yourself with industry trends and relevant topics.
DO keep your hashtags should be short and searchable. You should be using words and phrases that already exist in Twitter’s hashtag universe so your hashtags don’t float alone out there in the social media ocean, searching for other castaways from #sellingmakesmehappylikeicecreammakesmehappy island.
DON’T be afraid to promote your work. Offering links to your efforts seem obvious if you’re a freelance designer or writer but not so obvious if you work in finance or sales. Use your tweets to call attention to stories on your company’s website or mentions in industry publications and then point out your connection to the mention.
DO give credit where credit’s due. Show that you know how to play well with others by recognizing coworkers and managers who have done good work, either as part of your team or on their own.
DON’T be passive. If you’re going to use your Twitter account, be an active participant. If you read something interesting, reach out to the tweeter or the author to continue the conversation.
DO be topical. Keep an eye on the news—and not just industry news—and make connections to your work or industry when appropriate. This doesn’t mean your tweets should be political. Instead, they should promote sensible, non-partisan solutions to current problems or offer feedback on the latest services and products that are in the news.
DON’T ignore your competitors. If a rival company launches a new product or service that’s in direct competition to your own, tweet a respectful acknowledgment of the new player in the game.
DO follow the essential individuals, companies and associations in your industry. You’ll be able to read their tweets, check out their contacts and ascertain the topics that they deem important. And when appropriate, you can engage them in a relevant discussion.
DON’T be afraid of sending personal messages. People on Twitter aren’t hiding, obviously, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to stop and read everything you tweet. If you have a serious question or idea, drop them a line. The best practice is to piggyback on a topic you’ve heard them discuss or to make a content suggestion based on one of their recent tweets. But if someone’s profile says they don’t accept DMs, don’t send one.
DO share your new knowledge, especially skills or information. These new attributes may come after a training session at work or a real-life situation in or out of the office. If you learned more about your industry at a trade show, hashtag the trade show’s sponsors. If you received some helpful advice from a peer, tag that peer.
DON’T spend your day tweeting every single thought that enters your brain and retweeting every story that has a direct or indirect relationship to your career. Not only will you turn off some potential followers but you’ll also dilute your message when you want to send out something important so use a little self-restraint.
DO use photos and graphics. In addition to being more engaging to users, photos of your work can say more in a few seconds than that link at the end of your tweet. The same goes for graphics. You’re getting eyeballs on your tweets so make them as self-contained as possible. You can’t be sure someone will click on your link or scroll down to the next offering. Most times, it’s the latter, not the former.
By Marco Buscaglia, Tribune Content Agency
Published in the Chicago Tribune on February 27, 2022