If you have a job and are ignoring Twitter, you may be making a big mistake—one that could hurt you the next time you’re looking for a new position. Consider: Today nearly 50 percent of recruiters use Twitter to find candidates. So build a strong presence on the site now, before you need to make a move. New to the Twitterverse? Check out Twitter’s tutorials at support.twitter.com (click on welcome to twitter). Then, future-proof your career with these steps.
Follow, converse, retweet. Use Twitter’s lack of barriers to get noticed by hiring managers, says Tamera Rousseau-Vesta of the networking-infrastructure company Entera-sys, which recruited for a position exclusively on Twitter. Follow potential employers (wow them with a great bio so they’ll follow you, too). Then, direct message them to ask for an exploratory interview. If you’re job hunting publicly, retweet (meaning repost) a company’s message or hashtag it in a tweet: Type the number sign (#), followed by the company name, with no spaces in between; this categorizes the tweet and gives the company a public shout-out.
Find a reverse mentor. Millennials have the highest Twitter-use rates of any generation, so don’t be shy about recruiting a twenty-something—via your school alumni organization or a networking site like Ellevate Network—who works in your field to help you find your digital footing. Then you can apply your decades of business expertise to using Twitter effectively, says Christina Vuleta, founder of 40:20 Vision, an organization that facilitates mentorship between generations.
Manage first impressions. Your bio is the first thing potential employers will see if they visit your Twitter page to do some reconnaissance. Yours should summarize your skill set and include a professional photo. “Go for three quarters professional and one quarter personal in your bio to give people a three--dimensional view of you as a possible candidate,” says Diane Crompton, chief marketing officer of Iotronics, a company that creates products that help people search for jobs on social media. Hillary Clinton got hers right: “Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD...”
When you need a job, create a “twesume.”A résumé in the form of a 140-character tweet, this should contain single-word mentions of your skills and job interests, info on how someone can learn more about you and an assortment of appropriate hashtags, which recruiters can then search to find you. If you’re new to Twitter, your twesume will probably seem like a blur of abbreviations and symbols. Consider signing up for Twesume.com. The site asks you a handful of questions, then generates twesumes with optimal language and hashtags to get you the most traction, according to Klaus Obermeier, CEO of Iotronics and a cofounder of the site (100 twesumes for $30). It will even provide you with a schedule of the best posting times.
Search with hashtags. Keep abreast of job postings and company updates by using the hashtag feature as you would a search engine. Begin by typing the number sign with a corresponding search word—maybe #jobs or #jobsearch. When you do this, you’ll find all other tweets marked with that keyword. Then narrow your search by creating field- and job-specific hashtags (for example, #finance #analyst). Find a directory of popular keywords at hashtags.org.
Film a résumé with Vine, Twitter’s video app. Unemployed journalist Dawn Siff landed a job after creating what may be the world’s first Vine résumé. Her advice: “Be creative, because you only have six seconds to highlight your skills.” She incorporated props and focused on nouns in her nine-word video CV: journalist, strategist, manager, deadline Jedi, idea machine, Dawn Siff.