If you're looking for a job, there's no excuse for not having a LinkedIn account. No social media platform is more powerful for creating a digital presence and promoting your personal brand. In fact, LinkedIn profiles have become just as important as traditional resumes.
While having a LinkedIn account is mandatory, Twitter should also be on your list of social networks. With more than 300 million active users worldwide – individuals and businesses – Twitter has become an important tool for enhancing one's professional image and networking with potential employers and colleagues.
"Twitter is important to the job search process because it enables prospective applicants to learn about companies of interest, their culture, and where they find value by following them," says Saint Leo University's Nancy Cheek, career services advisor for online degree students. "Jobs may even be posted on the company's Twitter page or on a separate HR Twitter page."
If you haven't already set up a Twitter account—or you have and aren't quite sure what to do next —check out these 10 tips for pumping up your professional Twitter presence.
1. Use your real name.
Choose a username that is as close to your real name as possible. Also, keep the character count short. That makes it easier for others to reply to your posts or tweet about you on Twitter's 140-character-limit-per-tweet platform.
2. Use a professional photo.
Replace Twitter's default egg avatar with a photo of yourself. Doing so creates credibility and ensures others that it's not a fake account. Use an image that enhances your professionalism, not one of you on vacation or with multiple people.
3. Create a header.
Be creative with the header on your profile page and develop a graphic that showcases your professional interests. If you're not comfortable designing your own header, ask a graphic design student or even a professional to whip up a something simple and interesting.
4. Input a short, accurate and meaningful bio.
Twitter gives you only 160 characters for your bio – so make every word and character count. Originality gets noticed on Twitter so let your personality shine through. Include info on at least one hobby you participate in. For any keywords, such as your occupation, use hashtags, e.g. #marketing or #socialworker.
5. Personalize your account settings.
When you set up your account, go into the settings (click your user icon, then the Settings link) to choose your language, time zone and country settings, as well as your preferences for security and privacy, email notifications, and more. Here, you also can customize your page design by selecting a background image and color palette.
6. Post regularly.
How often should you post? At least once a day but no more three times. If you can't check your account daily or during business hours, schedule items in advance using a free service like Hootsuite or Buffer. But don't rely on these services completely. Check in and tweet live whenever possible.
7. Follow businesses and industry experts.
Many companies tweet info about job openings. Follow these organizations and influential people in your industry. Find them via Twitter's search box or by Googling the name+twitter.
8. Retweet and comment on business-related posts.
Once you have followed a company or influential industry insider for a while and you feel confident on Twitter, engage with them. Retweet the posts you find interesting. Comment on their tweets or ask a question. All are ways to get noticed.
9. Post quality images.
Images get your posts noticed. When the social media tool Buffer analyzed its tweets, it found that tweets with images received an 18 percent increase in clicks. Include relevant links with the images and only post images you have created or have the right to publish. The Social Media Examiner recommends using infographics, photos, or memes are good but avoiding selfies.
10. Use appropriate hashtags.
Hashtags provide context for items you're tweeting about. It also helps people searching on a certain topic to find your tweets. The free search tool on RiteTag can help you find hashtag keywords that are relevant or trending and has color-coded results that show which hashtags are good, great, overused, or unused.
Want to know more?
For more information on using Twitter as a professional, check out these resources:
- Getting started with Twitter
- 7 Key Ingredients of a Powerful Twitter Bio
- How Twitter's Expanded Images Increase Clicks, Retweets and Favorites
- The Social Media Frequency Guide
- Social Photos Generate More Engagement: New Research
- 3 Simply (and Smart) Phases to Leveraging Twitter to Advance Your Career
- The Fine Art to Juggling Personal and Professional Twitter Accounts
Do you have any other tips for using Twitter to land a job?
Image credit: Shawn Campbell on Flickr/Creative Commons