Book Review: The Twitter Job Search Guide
I’ve been reading, re-reading, and testing out Twitter techniques from The Twitter Job Search Guide. The book is densely packed with strategic and tactical advice that’s useful not only for job seekers but also for anyone engaged (or wants to be) in social media.
Certainly, there are techniques for uncovering and landing a job using Twitter. But most of the ideas serve as a complement to rather than the core components of a search. I won't give away all the details but I’ve selected some tips (general, technical, and job search) to share that I found useful, especially for those who, like me, are still getting started in Twitter.
- Twitter is free so it’s a frugal job-searching and networking tool.
- When you sign up, you’ll use both a username and Twitter name or handle. Your username could be your real name (Jane Smith) and your handle could reference your brand or profession (@JaneSmithCPA).
- Convey your brand through your Twitter handle, bio, background, and tweets. Let people get to know your career interests and personality through your tweets but concentrate more on your professional side. Try to attain a ratio of 3:1 of professional to personal tweets.
- Tweet items that are Noteworthy, Strategic, On-Brand, and Engaging (remember NOSE as outlined in the book), all aligned with your goals. Get ideas for tweet content by reading blogs, news stories, and professional journals.
- Publish some tweets before you begin following people so that those you follow have enough information to decide whether they’ll follow you. You’ll want to show that you aren’t a spammer or are leading them to a bad place to get tangled up on the web.
- Follow and be followed in order “to be heard, to make reciprocal connections, and to build a synchronous network.”
- Block those who are following you if they have inappropriate content. People will judge you based on who you follow.
- Expand your network slowly. A sign of a spammer is a high number of following with a low number of followers. Those who are getting started may have such an unusual ratio (12 followers, following 3,000 people) but the first impression isn’t a good one.
- Search engines index tweets and twitter accounts. So, Twitter can help establish your digital presence but it can also add digital dirt that you may not be able to bury later. You can protect your tweets but that would counteract the purpose of having a Twitter account for job-searching or networking purposes. You can delete tweets but some deleted items may still be indexed depending on your timing.
- You can make a tweet searchable and you can search Twitter content by using the “#” sign (which is called a hashtag though I might refer to this symbol as a pound or number sign).
- If someone sends you a message (visible to others) or refers to you, they’ll use your handle (@JaneSmithCPA) in a tweet. You can see who’s talking to you or about you by checking the replies on your Twitter’s homepage sidebar (@reply - @JaneSmithCPA).
- Send direct messages (DM or D) to anyone who is following you by using the “direct messages” function on your sidebar. These messages don’t appear in the regular Twitter stream and should be private.
- Set your preferences to receive DMs and tweets via text message on your cell phone.
- Retweet (RT) (similar to forwarding an email but without the intrusiveness) by using the automatic RT feature. Or, if you’d like to add commentary to showcase your expertise or encourage more discussion, cut and paste the tweet, start the new tweet with RT, list the Twitter handle of the person who sent the original tweet, and add your message.
- Use a URL shortener, such as bit.ly or TinyURL.com to reference news articles, blog posts, etc. and keep your tweet to its 140-character maximum. Bit.ly allows you to track tweeting activity but the links eventually expire so that others viewing your older tweets can’t see what you are referencing. TinyURLs last forever (though the sites referenced may shut down) but don’t provide information on tweeting activity.
- Complete your profile. In the field for the “web,” put your LinkedIn profile or VisualCV site if you don’t have a blog or website.
- Follow recruiters; human resource managers, hiring managers, and corporate executives associated with your target employers; thought leaders, decision-makers, and influencers in your field; and professional associations. Read tweets (and links) to learn about company culture, news, industry challenges, etc. that can be valuable in interviews.
- Find job leads through websites that interface with Twitter, such as TweetMyJobs.com and TwitJobSearch.com.
- Alert human resources managers and hiring managers that you’ve applied to openings at their companies so that they’ll look for your application.
- Tweet about topics relevant to your field so that you can position yourself as a subject matter expert; list your Twitter handle on your résumé, business cards, and email signature so that even non-followers can learn about you, your career goals, and your professional capabilities.
- Give and solicit advice on interviewing, job-search etiquette, target employers’ priorities, etc. If you have a question, create a series of tweets that pose the query in slightly different ways and publish them throughout the day so that you’ll be more likely to catch the attention of your followers.
- Don’t give too much information. If you are actively searching, let people know; but if you are still gainfully employed, don’t reveal your intentions but rather use Twitter to build your network of contacts. Don’t share insider information or too many details about your job search that might jeopardize your standing during the interview process. Limit tweets to about 5 per day so that you don’t overwhelm your followers. And limit your time on Twitter (after you’ve mastered the techniques) to 15 minutes per day.
There is much more, covering the conceptual and practical aspects of branding, networking, collaboration, information gathering, and tight writing.
The authors of this book -- Susan Whitcomb @SusanWhitcomb, Chandlee Bryan @chandlee, and Deb Dib @CEOCoach -- take on the gargantuan task of explaining how to use Twitter, how to conduct a job search, and how to conduct a job search using Twitter. To use the book, try out techniques as you encounter them OR read the book first and then execute the ideas as you go through a second read. Also, visit the book's website at The Twitter Job Search Guide.
I recommend the book as a standalone guide to Twitter, even if you are not a job hunter right now.
There are stories of real-life job searchers and their unique approaches for using Twitter in Appendix C. The placement of these stories seemed odd; consider reading these briefs before starting the book and then afterwards to get a good understanding of the possibilities for harnessing the power of Twitter.
Disclosure: I have a brief mention in the book as a Tweet contributor and I received a copy of the book for this review.