@akloh: I’m Amanda, a journalism major at Missouri with an online emphasis focusing on social and new media. Hunting for any entry-level job. DM me!
What if I sent that 140-character message out into the Twitterverse? Would someone respond? Could I actually make a contact and get a job?
More people follow Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher on Twitter than live in the countries of Sweden, Israel, Switzerland, Ireland, Norway or Panama. Clearly, there is a large population of people out there ready and able to connect. Some Twitter users are only tweeting in order to know what Justin Bieber ate for dinner, but others are part of a growing group—a group that uses Twitter as a Human Resources outlet to hunt for potential employees and employers. Throwing out a message like the one above could grab this group’s attention.
This approach to job hunting is becoming increasingly popular. While not everyone is able to effectively market himself or herself on the Internet, others are proving it is possible to tweet your way to a job.
When Danielle Hohmeier graduated from college, she didn’t have a job. But she did have a Twitter account. Danielle decided to utilize it.
“I started following local agencies [and] started paying more attention to industry happenings—even included my Twitter handle on my resume, LinkedIn and resume website,” said Danielle. “I wanted employers to know I was comfortable in that space and give them a chance to get to know me beyond my resume and cover letter. Plus, I figured that if I sent in a resume and they had already interacted with me on Twitter, then I would have some advantage over other candidates.”
Danielle made sure her interactions with companies through Twitter had more substance than just a “hire me please” request.
“The trick is, you have to start interacting with them before that job opening comes along. If my first contact with them was, 'Just sent in a resume for the [blank] position' it isn't as effective,” said Danielle.
A tweet from an advertising company caught Danielle’s eye and now, six months later, she has a permanent position there.
When you turn in your resume, you get one page. When you go in for an interview, you get a small window of time. Being active on social media allows your employer to see who you are. Believe it or not, it isn't all about where you interned or where you got your degree.
“You spend 40 hours a week with these people. They want to like you. Tweet about stuff going on in the industry to show off your expertise, tweet about your hobbies to show you are normal and cool and would be fun to hang out with for 40 hours a week,” said Danielle.
For months Danielle tweeted about everything. She tweeted about advertising, added links to her blog, gave her opinions about episodes of Lost and even gave reviews of weekend hotspots.
Tweeting about her expertise, hobbies and personal life is what led Danielle into another opportunity. This summer, MTV hosted a competition to find a “Twitter Jockey” (think MTV VJ meets social media).
“They just contacted me out of the blue one day and said they liked what I was 'putting out there,’” said Danielle.
Through the competition, Danielle was able to publicize her Twitter and blog accounts nationally, interview celebrities like Asher Roth, and eventually appear on MTV during a finale episode taped in New York City.
“You have to stop thinking about what Twitter is going to cost you in time or effort, and start thinking about what you can get out of it,” said Danielle. “Oh, and stop thinking it is lame, because it's not.”
Danielle is not the only one promoting the effects Twitter can have when searching for employment opportunities. Socialnomics, a book by Erik Qualman, describes how social media transforms the way we do business. In the book, Qualman says 80 percent of companies report they use social media for recruitment. As a result, Qualman says we don’t have a choice on whether we participate in social media, the question is how well we choose to interact with it. Regardless of whether you are tweeting to get a job or not, those 140 character massages will impact your future employment. Being conscious of this can help you make sure it is a positive impact.
How to start utilizing Twitter today
Sign up for Twitter
Go to Twitter.com and choose the sign up/join button. From there you will be asked for your name, email and to agree to the Twitter terms of service.
Choose a username
When it comes to your username avoid anything you might have used back in the days of instant messaging (no Cutie$hortCakes89 or SoccerPrincess13 allowed). Most people find some simple variation of their name that makes sense and is easy for a stranger to figure out. For example, my name is Amanda Klohmann so I choose Akloh as a username. On Twitter, you need to be real and accessible.
Find people to follow
Go to the Find People tab at the top of your home page screen. Type in someone’s name or choose to browse Twitter users by interest. Start with a few people you are interested in (friends, family, celebrities) and then see who they follow. Don’t be afraid to follow strangers. Since Twitter has the ability to be really interactive or really impersonal, you can go outside of your comfort zone if you want to.
Set up your profile
Choose the profile tab to set up a main profile for your Twitter account. You have about two sentences to describe yourself. Stick to something true and something fun, but if you plan on interacting with professionals, make sure what you are saying reflects your interest. A lot of Twitter users use those two sentences to say where they live and what they do/study. Part of your profile is also a picture. The picture will be really small, so if you want people to know who you are choose a closely cropped image of your face. This isn’t your chance to show off your new outfit or that summer tan. This photo is simply next to your messages to place a face with a username. Save that other stuff for Facebook.
Connect with your industry
Search Twitter accounts relevant to your industry using sites like WeFollow, TweepML, Buzzom, or Twellow. Search industry keywords using Search.Twitter or Monitter. Find relevant hash tags. Go to companies’ websites, find their Twitter handle, and follow it. If you want a job in a certain profession you need to get connected to its news and happenings. (No idea what I’m talking about? Check out our Twit-ctionary at the end of the article.)
Make an authentic personal brand
If you are trying to get a job through Twitter, potential employers will view your tweets as your brand. Your personal brand is who you are online, which should reflect who you are in real life. Maintain a degree of professionalism, but being yourself is important. If you want to be a stylist, tweet a picture of an outfit you put together for a friend or tweet a link to an amazing piece of clothing you found online.
Interact with the pros
Follow people in the industry. It may seem weird just jumping in on a conversation, but it's normal on Twitter. Be active by @-ing people and RT-ing people. If there is a really good conversation you want to get deeper into, DM them and ask for their e-mail address to continue the conversation in more than 140 characters. (No idea what I’m talking about? Check out our Twit-ctionary at the end of the article.)
Don’t be annoying
Don’t make it obvious you are just tweeting to get a job. Actually utilize Twitter as a mass communication tool and not as your direct route to HR. Spam isn't limited to people trying to sell magic pills. People trying to “sell” themselves are spammers too.
If you add an @ sign in front of a Twitter username, this is your way of communicating with that user. The other person will be able to see what you are saying about them by using the @username tab located on their Twitter page’s right-hand column.
A hash tag is a way to participate in a trending topic or create your own trending topic. If you type ‘#AnyWord’ Twitter will create a link to all tweets that use the same #AnyWord trending topic.
RT means re-tweet. If you like something another Twitter user says, give them the ultimate compliment of re-tweeting (RT-ing) it. You can simply copy their text and paste it into your message box or you can click the arrows in the square shape right below their original tweet.
DM means direct message. If you direct message someone it means that you send him or her a tweet only they can read.
If you click the plus sign to follow a Twitter user that means your Twitter newsfeed will now show every message that user sends. This is like a friend function because the people you follow are the people you will be able to interact with and vice versa.
WeFollow is a directory of Twitter users organized by interests.
It is a search engine for Twitter. Go to the Search.Twitter home page and you can search for anything. The results that pop up are all composed of recent tweets users have composed.
A Twitter handle is the username a user has selected for their Twitter account and the accompanying URL.
A web-based tool that allows anyone to monitor Twitter in real-time for mentions of any words or phrases they choose.
TweepML allows you to manage and share groups of Twitter users.
Buzzom helps make managing your follower/following list at lightning speed easy.
A search directory of people by area of expertise, profession or other attribute listed in personal profiles on Twitter.
Twitter users to follow
Follow any news source you like including television stations, major networks, magazines, and online sources. Below are a few other industry sources and industry leaders to look at as well.
Twitter Profile Statement: Community, jobs, courses, news, and resources from mediabistro.com and beyond. Please note that featured jobs posted to this feed are #paid.
About: The Twitter account for Mediabistro.com promotes all the new postings featured on the website. Its main goal is to publish various blogs and job listings for journalists.
Twitter Profile Statement: I'm a lovely bald chap who helps whippersnappers get started and get ahead in the mag biz.
About: This Twitter account is all about getting you connected to magazine jobs and internships. It sends updates, deadlines, openings, and advice all from the website Ed2010. Ed2010 is a community of young magazine editors and magazine-editor wannabes who want to learn more about the industry.
Twitter Profile Statement: Work w/ Shaquille O’Neal, UFC, White Sox and other sports, athletes, entertainment and corporate brands to develop measurable digital & social media strategies
About: Amy Jo Martin is a public relations guru. She has over 1.5 million Twitter followers and a lot of celebrity clientele.
Follow any store or designer you like because almost all have new media departments working to market on Twitter. Below are a few other industry sources to look at as well.
Twitter Profile Statement: Redefining fashion online.
About: Polyvore is the web’s largest fashion community. Users have access to designer interviews and can mix & match products from their favorite stores to create fabulous collages.
Twitter Profile Statement: Independent Fashion Bloggers.
About: IFB cultivates a community for fashion bloggers to share their experiences and create a resource so everyone can build a better blog. Get connected to the pros and to the wannabes.
Twitter Profile Statement: Where Style Meets Culture.
About: The Moment is a lifestyle magazine that's all about what's happening now. It has features and editorials covering art, design, entertainment, fashion, and even technology.
Follow any business, firm, agency, or company you like or are interested in working for. Below are a few other industry sources and industry leaders to look at as well.
Twitter Profile Statement: American wife and entrepreneur
About: Trump’s Twitter is her personal brand. She is an entrepreneur who shares her business endeavors and opinions on Twitter.
Twitter Profile Statement: deliveringhappinessbook.com & www.zappos.com
About: Zappos.com founder Tony Hsieh puts a face and voice to his company. His tweets are followed by 1.7 million people and give good business advice to entrepreneurs.
Twitter Profile Statement: Hi Everyone! Travel Expert- Adventure Girl at your service!
About: Stefanie Michaels, or Adventure Girl as she is known on and offline, falls into the business category because on the brand she has been able to create for herself. She blogs, has a book, and is a correspondent for news sources. Besides knowing almost everything about travel she is also knowledgeable about being able to create a business around what you love.
Danielle Hohmeier, Online Account Coordinator for Atomicdust (marketing strategy and design firm in St. Louis, Mo.) and MTVTJ contestant
Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business
Social Media Revolution 2 Video, Socialnomics blog