As most everybody knows by now, Twitter can be a powerful networking tool, a way to meet and schmooze with individuals that you might not gain access to as you cut a swathe across all the media recruitment agencies and a chance to sniff out the more unexpected or esoteric job opportunity.
However, are you using Twitter in a way that helps or hinders your job search? Take a look at my top five pieces of advice on how to optimise your use of the service and make sure you keep your Tweets sweet.
Don’t Mix Business With Pleasure
Unlike Facebook, Twitter has all the luxury and the dangers of being totally public. Everything, from the instagrammed portrait of your cat to your darkest 3am musings are visible and up for grabs. So make sure you’ve decided what kind of Twitter account you want to keep and do your best to maintain that standard. A lot of media professionals run two accounts: one ‘public-facing’ account which follows all the industry people, interesting vocational noise and interested parties and a ‘personal account’ for communicating with friends which is invite-only. If you give yourself the option of two accounts and run them both from a Twitter client like TweetDeck, you can make sure that all your weird, dark stuff is for your friends’ eyes only and your more acceptable public face can be used for communication with potential employers and freelance clients.
….Unless It’s Funny
Cuz here’s the thing. There’s nothing worse than a faux-cheery soulless corporate account. When it comes to networking, no-one wants to hire bland, SEO-keyword spouting guy. It’s important that you don’t keep all your esoteric musings and comedy gold for your friends. The instantanity of Twitter is its chief virtue so don’t be afraid to keep your public account a little loose. A little Instagram never hurt anyone. No-one will die if you make a spectacular Bieber pun. As long as you’re consistent in your approach, having a little fun on Twitter can be as good for you professionally as it is personally.
Don’t Overwhelm Your Feed With Noise
No-one is telling you to unfollow Demi Moore. Indeed, seeing how that whole Ashton Kutcher psycho-sexual drama plays out over social media is one of the medium’s guilty pleasures. However, there is a danger of being too magpie-like and following so many shiny, interesting-looking people that your feed becomes a near-constantly moving string of updates, which could lead you to miss key opportunities. Take advantage of Twitter’s ‘List’ feature to streamline and categorise the people that you follow so that if you’re looking for a specific type of tweet ‘a job opportunity’ stream, say, then everything you require is in one curated content feed. That way you can enjoy your interactions with celebrities and make sure you never miss a trick, employment-wise.
Reach For The Star
As Dorothy Gale once wisely observed, ‘things come and go so quickly here.’ I’ve lost count of the interesting opportunities I’ve missed because I think I’ll remember who tweeted the relevant info. Then, when I come to put together a pitch or application, I’ll be darned if the original tweet isn’t lost in the electronic ether. The ‘Favourite’ function that Twitter offers is a really simple way of bookmarking important snippets of info. Use judiciously and often. Trust me, you won’t remember them all.
Twitter is amazing for a couple of research-based activities. The first is the classic hashtag search, which groups together relevant tweets. Run searches on #recruiting #jobposting #jobvacancy #mediajobs regularly to make sure you’re not missing anything interesting. Equally, if there’s a large industry event that you can’t attend, make sure that you find out and monitor the event’s official hashtage. Not only will this keep you informed about the latest news in your field, it will give you plenty of material for incisive industry-facing tweets. Twitter is also an amazing way to find th specific HR person to contact if you want to get more information and/or your foot in the door. Never be afraid of a little polite introduction – it’s a special thrill having the wherewithal to network in your pyjamas. And bless Twitter for that.
Ross McCoy is a freelance blogger and social media expert writing for Media Week Jobs