Beginner’s Guide to the Twitter Job Search: Top 5 Essentials By Steve Van Vreede

It is hard to imagine a job seeker today who isn’t on Twitter. Like LinkedIn, it is rapidly becoming a must-do social networking tool. And also like LinkedIn, it is rapidly becoming a popular hangout for job seekers.

Unlike LinkedIn, however, Twitter moves at a strange pace. It isn’t just about adding contacts you’ve worked with in the past or with whom you have had some connection. Twitter is mostly about making new friends, be it socially, professionally, or both.

At first it can be a confusing world where you are limited to just 140 characters and are bombarded with “tweets” and “retweets” that all sound like random non sequiturs.

Over the last two months, my partner (@rezlady) and I (@noddleplace) have spent a great deal of time “tweeting” with job seekers on Twitter, and many of them have the same issue. They want a job, they have heard that Twitter is a good tool for finding one, and they have no idea how to use it to accomplish that goal.

So to help newcomers (and maybe those who’ve been on Twitter a while but are now starting to use it for their job search), I have compiled the top 5 things we are often advising job seekers about when they are trying to maneuver their job search on Twitter:

1. Update your profile to include job sought. Many times job seekers will tweet out little laments, I’m assuming in the hopes that someone will notice them. They will say something like “I need a job. Will someone help me?” The first thing I do when I see this cry for help is click on the person’s profile. All too often when I do, I see nothing on there that tells me the type of position sought. If you are going to use Twitter as a job hunting tool, then you at least need to let Twitterville know what you are looking for. Be as specific as you can in the 140 characters allowed. As with anything in the job search, the more targeted the better.

2. Watch your tweets. Once you enter into the job search realm, Twitter should no longer become an avenue for ranting, raving, and misbehaving. I’m not sure it ever bodes well, but it is an especially bad idea if you want hiring managers, recruiters, and the like to speak to you. Before I engage in a conversation with a job seeker, I will often look at the quality of the tweets he or she has posted that day. Sometimes it is amazing how profane or crude they are.

Also, be careful not to go off on your past or current employer. Stop providing details about recent interviews or companies you are applying with. Remember, your “tweets” are public. Unlike LinkedIn, more than just your followers can read them.

3. Start following career pros. Twitterville has so many career pros, from resume writers to recruiters to staffing agencies to placement firms. Niche sites are frequent users of Twitter as well. Looking for hospitality jobs or IT jobs or freelance opportunities? You can find several specialty job boards on Twitter to follow. Recently, a Twitter job board was launched called www.twitterjobsearch.com.

Furthermore, feel free to take advantage of hash tags like #jobangels, #jobseekers, and #jobs. You can post the type of job you are seeking and then use one or all of these hash tags. Your post will then be read by everyone who follows those tags.

4. Find other job seekers to help. Because Twitter is so full of job seekers at the moment, there are plenty of others you can help along the way. As you are going to be tracking job advice, postings, etc., you will see lots of opportunities that may not be right for you, but they might be a good fit for someone else. So “retweet” or pass along those to someone else. After all, that’s how true networking works. If you want to make friends, it’s a give-and-take relationship. If you don’t want to make friends, well, then Twitter isn’t the place for you anyway.

5. Get application for searching. Twitter really opens up to you when you find a good application to use. Twhirl and Tweetdeck are popular ones that help you organize the tweets of your followers by making groups and help you search on specific topics, just as “job search.” They also help you see when someone has specifically spoken to you even while you were away. If you are going to be sending out pleas for a job, you don’t want to miss it when someone speaks back to you!

On a final note, as much as I love Twitter and recommend it for every job seeker, whatever your do, don’t limit your job search to just Twitter. Personal/professional networking is still the best approach. Face-to-face interaction always works best, and no matter how great social networking is, it can’t replace that type of connection. So don’t get too caught up in Twitter each day that you forget to get out there!

So who am I anyway? Why do I think my advice is so valuable?

My name is Stephen Van Vreede. My company is called No Stone Unturned, and I have spent 15 years on both sides of the corporate hiring experience.

The short story is that I have an MBA in Marketing from Villanova University and a dual B.S. degree in Finance & Logistics from the University of Maryland. I am a certified professional résumé writer (CPRW) and a member of the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC). As I mentioned, I paid my dues in the corporate world eventually running a large-scale call center for a major truck rental company, and I have spent the past 7 years with No Stone Unturned, assisting job seekers in achieving their goals.

In February 2009, I launched a new group job hunting networking site: NoddlePlace.com. It is absolutely FREE to join, and you have access to everything on the site. Come check it out at NoddlePlace. You can also follow me on Twitter.

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