Though LinkedIn tops the list of professionally-oriented social networks for job seeking, you can also use Twitter to get the word out about your skills and talents to relevant people in your industry.
But you must take some steps to be a good Twitter citizen before you tweet yourself into your next gig. We spoke with some career and social media experts on how to utilise Twitter for the purpose of job seeking, and the ways in which you can promote your own interests while helping others at the same time. (As you'll find, you can't do one without the other).
If you're new to Twitter, we recommend reading our sister publication CIO.com’s beginners' guide to Twitter, as well as Twitter etiquette guide, to learn more about what makes this community operate. Overall, it's important to remember that Twitter is about exchanging ideas and letting people know more about you based on the content of your tweets.
1. Know who to follow
If you want someone to think about you when a job opening arises, you need to get on that person's Twitter radar. One way to do this: follow the key people in your industry and watch their updates closely to see what types of topics and projects interest them the most.
For starters, use Twitter's search tool to look for certain keywords of interest. After you search, the results will show people who are tweeting those terms; then you can scan their public profiles to see if you should be following them. This can also help in your content strategy (more on that in the next section).
"From all the job success stories I've heard of (on Twitter), one thing remains consistent: you have to build your follower list on Twitter before you need them," says Dan Schawbel @danschawbel), a personal branding expert, and author of the upcoming book Me 2.0.
This message rings true to Aaron Mentzer @mentzdog, who found his job as director of communications at MyExpertSolution, a Web-based company in the US that provides mental and emotional health services. Through Twitter, he met many locally based PR professionals and initiated conversations over industry topics.
"At one point I arranged to meet several of my Twitter colleagues for lunch, so we could meet in person and establish a 'real' connection,"
Mentzer says. "A month or so after our lunch meeting, one of the colleagues I met on Twitter recommended me to a prospective client as a possible fit for them. I met with that company the next day, where they offered me a job on the spot."
If you begin following people in your industry and you'd like to follow them back, make thoughtful replies to their tweets by putting the "@" sign in front of their Twitter user name. Just like on Google, we all tend to look when our name gets mentioned.
"Many job seekers get jobs who have a thousand or more Twitter followers that they've built relationships with over time by supplying them with valuable content and insights," Schwabel says.