Leveraging Social Media Profiles to further your Career Part 2: Twitter

using twitter in the job searchSocial media is an extremely powerful medium, and leveraging it can be the key to landing a new job or making the right connections to make a big impact at your current job. If you are job hunting or actively networking, your online profiles are extremely easy to find. What does your profile say about you? Many people are now racing for the privacy settings and locking down their profiles to interested outsiders. Instead, you should learn to leverage your profile to help you stand out from a crowd. In this article we’ll take a look at leveraging your Twitter profile.

What can twitter do for you? Twitter gives you access to other professionals in your field. You get the opportunity to connect with industry leaders and see what conversations they are having. Twitter also provides you another platform to build credibility as a thought leader (we talked about this briefly in Part 1 of this conversation about LinkedIn). You have the opportunity to share information and engage in conversations in 140 character bursts. Here is how to set yourself up to be successful on twitter:

1. If you are going to use twitter professionally, brand your twitter professionally.

Set up a designed professional profile, choose a professional handle, and link to your personal website or LinkedIn profile. If you already have a twitter profile you are comfortable using, go ahead and keep it, but you will have to think twice next time you share that picture from last weekend or tweet out the latest cat picture you found online. Sometimes it’s better to manage two accounts for private and business use. Mobile apps make it quick and easy to seamlessly manage two accounts and switch back and forth.

2. Tweet like no one is watching.

Before you start off and follow every big name twitter user you can find, create some content of your own!  It’s ok that no one is following you right now and that you will not be starting any new discussions. You need to give people a reason to follow you back. Tweet about an article or an idea, share a new website that people could benefit from. Just stay away from being spammy! It’s ok to self-promote but at first that will turn away the majority of your potential followers.

3. Slowly build your Network.

Now is the time to go ahead and start following those twitter stars, colleagues, and industry professionals. Use twitter’s search function and “find people” tool to get started. There are plenty of other methods to finding interesting people to follow including TwitDir, Twellow, and Twubble. Don’t be overambitious and start following 500 people right off the bat when you might only have a couple dozen followers. That reflects poorly on you. It takes time and good content to grow your network!

4. Do unto others!

Think about what you can do for others. That is the first way to gain people’s attention. Start by helping promote others who are creating or sharing content you also believe in. You may gain some new followers and friends this way. Working with people is a good method to potentially get some help in return later down the line. You just never know who might join your network!

Twitter offers a way to create an extended network in a way that LinkedIn sometimes is unable to. People are more open with their twitter profile, and it is a great bonus to you to connect with people beyond your immediate circle whose networks and contacts are much different from your own.

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