In the age of social media, we have countless outlets for job searching. Platforms such as LinkedIn are the first to come to mind, but can candidates use Twitter to find jobs as well? This past Thursday the HR teams at Twitter and NPR collaborated in the first live #NPRTwitterChat aimed at helping job seekers use social media as a job search tool.
The chat was centered on six questions that received over 800 tweets from industry professionals all over the U.S., and even some from New Zealand and the UK. Below is a recap of the topics covered in the chat as well as tips you can use in your own job search.
How to Find a Job Using Twitter
The live chat started with a general inquiry into how to use the Twitter platform for job searching. Most responses touched on being an engaging member of the industry in which you want to work, and contributing content to build a social following. NPR’s Schmidt talked about Twitter as a job search resource during an interview with Mashable: “Through Twitter you can learn from your peers in whatever discipline you’re in, or use it as a platform to share content so you can build awareness of you as a professional, and ultimately position yourself as a thought leader in a particular expertise. Because it is an open network, it affords the opportunity to do that in a very public way.”
The following are some of the other themes that came up during the live chat.
- Follow the industry you are interested in, and participate in communities you care about.
- Don’t just retweet what others are saying; create meaningful content that people care about. Be a thought leader.
- Use Twitter as a jumping-off point to your more detailed online profiles — a personal blog or LinkedIn profile, for example.
- Many companies have job-related Twitter handles. Following those is a great way to keep tabs on job openings, rather than searching the company’s website.
- Build your network before you need it; engage with people who do what you want to do.
- Don’t be overly professional. Twitter is a great way to showcase your personality and talk to people about your interests.
Benefits of Twitter Over Other Social Networks
Twitter isn’t the first social network someone typically thinks about when applying for a job, but it does have some unique advantages over other social platforms. The lack of barriers to connect with thought leaders was one of the most-mentioned advantages during the live chat.
- Twitter’s openness makes it a useful platform for showcasing your talents, personality, style, and interests. Recruiters can get an idea of who you are, and if you would be a good fit at their company. It’s not just transparency of candidates, but companies as well.
- It is great for connecting meaningfully with people and companies you don’t already know, which is much more difficult to do on platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. You can develop a rapport with people you may not have access to in real life.
- It’s easier and more convenient for a recruiter to reply to your tweet than to pick up the phone. Twitter facilitates quicker responses.
How to Be an Engaging Candidate on Twitter
Just having a Twitter handle isn’t enough to attract the attention of recruiters. They’re going to be looking at what kind of content you share on your account. You want to share a good mix of interesting and thought-provoking content, as well as tweets that give a taste of your personality.
- Show what you are passionate about, give recruiters an idea of your personality and interests outside of your career.
- Recruiters know that if they hire you, they also inherit your network. So make sure to build a solid network of people both inside and outside your industry.
- Interact and respond to the people in your networks. Add value to your community.
How to Network Effectively on Twitter
There are best practices of use with any social media platform, and they become even more important when you’re looking for a job. Schmidt elaborated on this issue: “Use social media to help others and to contribute your expertise to the communities where you work. If you do that, you’ll be building up a lot of capital in those networks. So when you need a favor, people will be much more apt to help you out — because they know that you’ve contributed a lot to that network. You’re not going to build a very good network if you just promote yourself.”
- First impressions are just as important on social media. Make sure you have a great online description and photo. Be professional but interesting.
- Don’t just use your Twitter as a means of self-promotion — be interested in what other people are doing and engage with them. Share others’ stuff before your share your own.
- Actually network. Build lists for people across different disciplines. Join chats. Interact and start conversations. Initiate discussions with people who inspire you. It’s okay to step outside of your comfort zone.
- Share content that is valuable. The more relevant contributions you make, the more others will want to continue to follow you.
The Future of Recruiting
At the end of the Twitter chat, the conversation turned to online presences replacing resumes. The overwhelming opinion was that resumes won’t become obsolete, but candidates’ online presence will enhance their resumes. Resumes are still useful for screening a large batch of applicants, and not every industry is well-represented online.
Schmidt added that although he doesn’t think online presence will replace resumes completely, it is important for discoverability to have some presence online. “There are certain skill sets that aren’t necessarily as active on social media,” he says. Companies offering blue-collar jobs aren’t as actively involved in social media, so that hiring is going to look more traditional. But having an online presence whether it is a blog, through social networks, having a social presence with links to your work to supplement your resume definitely enhances your offerings as a candidate. You want to have a digital presence on the web — you want recruiters to be able to find you.”
How do you utilize Twitter as a job search resource? Let us know in the comments.