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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

Twitter, The Networking Barrier Buster: 25 Tip

15 Dec 2015 2:27 PM | Anonymous

By Susan Britton Whitcomb, PCC, CCMC, CPCC, CJSS, MRW, NCRW, CCM
The Academies

What’s the #1 job trend (according to surveys by and How about the “Word of the Year” according to the American Dialect Society? And one of Microsoft’s most searched phrases on its search engine Bing? If you guessed Twitter, you’re right.

You may be thinking, though, “What’s the point? How can this site—crammed with apparently insignificant, inconsequential information—possibly be key to my job search?”

Keep an open mind! Yes, Twitter has a bit of a learning curve (not uncommon for all good things). The good news is that you can find value from Day #1, whether just dabbling as a NOOB (shorthand for newbie in Twitter-speak) or becoming a power user. These 25 tips will get you off on the right foot.

  1. Lurk First! Before jumping in, wait a bit and study what’s happening on Twitter. You can do this even before setting up a Twitter account by viewing Twitter user’s streams (for example, visit my Twitter stream at or my co-authors in The Twitter job Search Guide (JIST 2010), and Another cool site for lurking is where you can search keywords of interest to you.

  2. Think Strategically When Setting Up Your Twitter Account. Some people waver between using their own personal name (such as JaneDoe) or a profession (such as CEOintheKnow) for their Twitter handle. There are advantages to both; however, using your real identity can add to your name recognition. If you have a common name that is already taken on Twitter and want to use your name, add a designation that matches your profession, such as JaneDoeCPA or JaneDoeSalesExec.

  3. Write an Employer-Focused “160me” for Your Twitter Profile. Twitter allows a maximum of 160 characters to describe who you are. Give readers a taste of the return-on-investment they’ll receive from hiring you. For example: “Go-to resource for publicity for non-profits. Earned organizations cover stories in regional mags; PR delivered 10s of thousands of dollars in contributions.”

  4. Remember the Photo. Leaving out a photo in your Twitter profile is an invitation for people to immediately dismiss you. Choose a photo that looks as good as you would when going to an interview—your absolute best. There is a greater sense of connection between followers and followees when each of you can see what the other really looks like. Don’t like your picture? Use an avatar, but stay on brand. These sites are great starting points for avatars: and

  5. Point Potential Employers to More Info About You. In your Twitter profile, include a link to a site where employers can get more information about you, such as your profile at or your online resume at

  6. Don’t Rush to Follow When First Starting Out. When you follow people on Twitter, it’s likely they will follow you back. If your history of tweets (known as a tweet stream) isn’t interesting or, worse yet, is non-existent, you’ll lose the opportunity to gain new followers. Instead, compose some interesting tweets first.

  7. Tweet On-Brand. You’ll want to tweet primarily about things that relate to your profession. Read industry news feeds, blogs, and other resources for relevant, fresh content.

  8. Use Google Alerts for Your Tweet Content. Go to to set up alerts for industry trends, news on your target companies, and more sent directly to your email. You’ll look impressive as one of the first to tweet about it.

  9. Use TweetDeck or Other Third-Party Application (API).Twitter can appear overwhelming and confusing if you’re not using an API such as,, or The sites can organize tweets into columns of your choosing, such as those that reference your name, those that contain a relevant hashtag or keyword (such as #TaxPreparer), or a list of followers you are particularly interested in.

  10. Follow People Who You’d Like To Know You. Follow companies on your list of target companies, employees in those companies, recruiters, potential networking contacts, industry leaders, and others who might help connect you to the people with the influence to hire.

  11. Use Lists. Check out for lists of people of interest in your target companies or profession. Likewise, check out the lists that other Twitter users have created.

  12. Explore Twitter’s Advanced Search Feature. Twitter has an advanced search function that isn’t readily apparent from its home page. You can find it here: Use it to search for opportunities (e.g., #jobs #portland #finance) or people.

  13. Search Beyond Twitter with Twitter Search Services. Use sites like or to find people (e.g., recruiters, finance).

  14. Remember the 75-25 Rule When Tweeting. If you’re in job-search mode, approximately 75% of your tweets should be professional, while 25% can be more of a personal nature (e.g., “Looking forward to my 25-mile ride through the Blossom Trail this weekend.”). Use discretion with your personal tweets!

  15. Tweet, Tweet, Tweet, But Don’t Get Sucked In. Be careful that your time on Twitter is focused and productive. Consider starting with 15 minutes a day: spend five minutes in the morning, noon, and afternoon. During that time, consider tweeting about an interesting industry trend, retweeting someone’s tweet that would be interesting to your followers, and sending an “at” (@) message to someone based on an interesting comment in their tweet stream.

  16. Recommend and Retweet—The Highest Form of Flattery.No longer is imitation the highest form of flatter; in the Twitterverse, it’s retweets. Retweet (RT) interesting tweets from people on your target company list and networking contacts. Imagine how impressed a prospective boss would be when he/she sees you retweeting information that will promote his/her company. In addition, make #FF (Follow Friday) recommendations of your target company contacts and networking contacts.

  17. Shift Twitter Exchanges into Phone and Face-to-Face Conversations. Eventually, you will want to shift the conversation from Twitter to a telephone conversation or live meeting. Watch for opportunities to do just that, and act immediately when they present themselves.

  18. Time Your Thank You’s. As you engage people on Twitter, people will retweet you, recommend you, and compliment you. Consider thanking these people at off-times (late night, wee hours of the morning) so they don’t clog your tweet stream.

  19. Schedule Your Tweets. If you know you’ll be unable to tweet at important times of the time, use an API to schedule your tweets in advance. www.SocialOomph.comis a free service that will allow you to do that. is another.

  20. Go Mobile. Set up mobile alerts to stay in touch with your “tweeps” (Twitter friends) while on the road. Tweetie is a favorite for iPhone users.

  21. Sign up for TweetMyJobs Alerts. Every jobseeker, whether using Twitter user or no, should visit Here, you can sign up for mobile-phone alerts of jobs relevant to your profession and geographic area. It’s simple and free to jobseekers, and much less expensive for employers than some of the traditional job sites such as Monster and CareerBuilder, or even LinkedIn.

  22. Use Hashtags. Hashtags, represented by the # sign in front of a word (e.g., #accounting, #finance, #programming, #healthcare), are used on Twitter to help users find all the tweets with that hashtag. Use them religiously! Find hashtags at or watch your favorite tweeps to see what hashtags they are using.

  23. Let Your Followers Know You’re Looking (But Not Too Frequently). A savvy jobseeker featured in The Twitter Job Search Guide (JIST, 2010) posted this hashtag-heavy tweet to gain the attention of employers and recruiters: “Looking to leverage my awesome #transportation #trucking #logistics & #supplychain tweeps to find #employment in #Charlotte NC. Suggestions?” Consider tweeting this type of information every week during your search.

  24. Get Great Career Advice on Twitter. Follow savvy career coaches and job search strategists for great career tips (such as this list: or search for hashtags such as #resumes #careercoach #twitterjobsearch #jobsearch.

  25. GIVE Generously Before You Go Asking for Help. Twitter is a networking tool, which means the traditional rules of networking apply. Look for ways to be of service to othersbefore asking them for help. If you start off on Twitter with a tweet that says: “Got fired today. Anybody know of job openings?” you’ll not likely get much help!

Finally, two words of advice: Start now. In the wisdom of master networker Harvey Mackay (@harveymackay), “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.” It takes a few weeks to really get the swing of things on Twitter. When you do, you’ll discover that Twitter truly is the ultimate barrier buster!

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