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Can Twitter help me to find a job?
What is Twitter, and how is it useful for job search?
According to Wikipedia, “Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read ‘tweets’, which are text messages limited to 140 characters.” (A character is a letter, number, punctuation mark or space.)
We tend to think of Twitter as a tool for 20-somethings who like to share vital information such as “I’m awake.” (Lance Armstrong is reported to have done so.) The other well-known application is for people in war-torn countries, who report on what they have witnessed, and let their families and friends know they are still alive.
If you have a Twitter account, you can “follow” anyone else who’s on Twitter. When you follow someone, you get his or her Twitter messages (tweets.) You can follow people in your job field (or the field you hope to get into), industry experts, people you know, celebrities, virtually anyone, so long as he or she has a Twitter account.
You can also send out your own tweets. A tweet is a message, sent to all your followers, on pretty much any topic you like, so long as it is not longer than 140 characters. (Fortunately, Twitter keeps track and lets you know how many characters you have left in your tweet.) You can share your thoughts; publicize useful links and resources; show your expertise; connect with customers and friends; publicize events and services; and gather information from others.
Twitter is good for keeping your friends up to date without putting a lot of effort into crafting a wonderful piece of writing. It’s a fairly casual medium. It has been called a blog for people who don’t really want to blog.
So how is it useful for job search? It can be used to establish your “brand,” your online reputation. If you post useful information and thoughtful tweets, you may come to the attention of the employer you want to work for. Someone may read your tweet, think it’s brilliant, and retweet it (pass it on to his or her followers.) You can follow a company and learn a lot about them from the information they tweet. Some companies post their job leads only on Twitter, because the person they’re looking for would already be familiar with the site; it would be a pre-requisite for some jobs. And yes, those job leads are 140 characters or less (probably including a link to a more complete description.)
For most of us, LinkedIn will probably be more useful for job search than Twitter. But anything that enlarges your network or your knowledge will ultimately help your search. So give Twitter a try!