If you’re not a “Tweeple” yet (someone who posts “tweets” on Twitter.com), you may wish consider becoming one. As you probably know, Twitter is one of the many social networking tools available online today (examples of other major sites that are relevant for executive job search are LinkedIn and Facebook).
Twitter was designed initially for personal socializing and a stream-of-consciousness type of communication based on the question “What are you doing?” However, it has quickly evolved far beyond that to become a place where professionals and business people “tweet” advice, opinions, and links to resources they have found on the web. Don’t expect to post your executive resume there; you will need to show just how succinct you can be by posting a profile that is limited to just 160 characters. That’s right, 160 CHARACTERS, not WORDS. And your posts will be even shorter–a maximum of 140 characters.
A major use for Twitter that has emerged is in job search. As a member, you will be able to “follow” numerous people who post valuable advice, including executive resume writers, coaches, and other careers professionals, recruiters, and other job seekers. There is even a Twitter job board.
Since recruiters DO search Twitter for potential candidates, an emerging Twitter job search strategy is to “pitch” yourself with a brief description of the skills you bring to the table and the kind of job you are seeking, to which you add what are called “hash tags” that will ensure your post is read by all who monitor or search those hash tags. Examples of hash tags are “#jobangels” (you’ll get responses from this organization with advice, job leads, etc.), and #jobseeker, #ITjobs, #jobs, #careers, etc.
When using this strategy, be sure that your post is specific (not just “Help me! I need a job!), and that you spell out the important keywords and phrases in your post to ensure they are found in a search (e.g., “business development” instead of “bus.dev.”). Here’s one I found with a quick search on #jobseeker:
“Business Systems Analyst in Central FL (Orlando Area) w/10 yrs of IT, requirements, process & svc delivery exp. #jobangels #job #jobseeker”
As you build your “following” and “followers” lists, it can become a bit unwieldy to monitor them with the basic Twitter interface. Many have found it helpful to use third party apps such as Tweetdeck to make the process more efficient and manageable.
To fully leverage the advantages of social networking sites, work to drive connections among them. When you post to Twitter, occasionally include a link to your most recent blog entry (You DO have a blog, don’t you?), work in a link to your LinkedIn profile or website, or to articles you may have published or that have mentioned you on the Web.
At this point in time, it seems that Twitter may be most effective as a direct job search tool for entry level to mid-management candidates. However, by creating a name for yourself as a subject matter expert with a substantial following, the indirect benefits to your executive career and job search could be substantial. I encourage you to join Twitter and see what it’s all about. You can follow me at LSmithResumePro.