Twitter is a passion for Dan Finnigan. Jobvite is a six year old company in Burlingame. It sells software that allows companies to find and source candidates for jobs through the social networks of their employees. Jobvite operates through LinkedIn and Twitter. These social media platforms are vital to Finnigan’s company. He also believes that Twitter is becoming a powerful tool to find employment.
Jobvite conducts a survey every year that asks Americans how they use social media in job search. For this year’s survey click here. Finnigan is particularly impressed by the rise in Twitter usage. Last year, 26% of job-seekers said that they used Twitter to search for work. The number rose to 34% this year. Finnigan believes that this percentage will increase.
Forbes is a magazine that writes about leadership and careers. Forbes encourages the use of social media for journalism. However, I’m embarrassed to admit that I was not aware of how job seekers use Twitter to find jobs. Dan was kind enough to share his wisdom. I have reduced his advice to just four points.
Finnigan suggests that you create a Twitter account that highlights your professional profile.
This is something I have failed to do. My account was created by a friend a few years ago. He suggested this line: “Old Media hand swimming with new tides.” Dan pointed out that I could have said something like “Senior Editor at Forbes, where I cover leadership and careers.” However, I also included only Forbes.com as my link to my personal contributors page.
The same rules apply even if you’re not a journalist but an accountant. Your profile should be as professional and specific as possible. If you have one, make sure to link to it on your profile.
One reason I haven’t been able to accomplish these things is my confusion over whether Twitter is for professional or personal reasons. What if I tweet something about my teenage’s jazz combo performance? This is not information that I want to share with my professional network. Dan suggests a simple trick I didn’t know: I can create a second account to pursue non-professional interests. You can create an account for your hobby (e.g., running triathlons or raising English bulldogs) and keep your professional Twitter feed separated. You can also have two accounts for personal and professional use.
Follow people and institutions
Find out who the most relevant people in your field are and follow them. This is something I have done poorly. I would be smart to pay more attention to editors of publications and websites where my work might be published and to follow their lead.
Once you’ve identified key people, Twitter makes finding more people easy. You can click on the “who should I follow” tab to see a list of institutions and people who are being followed by people you already know.
Finnigan suggests that I think about the companies I want to work for and search for accountants there if I was a journalist instead of an accountant. LinkedIn also offers advanced search options that allow you to search for people by keywords such as company, title, and geographical location. Take some time to increase the number of people you follow.
Once you have a list of people to follow and a few followers, you can start forwarding interesting tweets from those people. You can also send them notes using the @ symbol and their Twitter handle. This is a great way to establish relationships.
This is what I do every day, even if it’s not often. Since I write content for a living, it makes sense to me to tweet my articles. Forbes provides a Twitter button on my contributor page. This makes it easy. However, I’m terrible at tweeting other content than mine. This is an essential part of being a strong Twitteruser. This is why I need to read widely and tweet links that I find interesting.
As an accountant, I might also be able to tweet interesting observations and articles. Perhaps I just read something about the transition from client-server financial software into cloud-based software. This article should be tweeted to my followers. If I was in energy, I could tweet a story about natural gas extraction. Your tweets should be interesting and relevant to increase your chances of attracting followers.
You can send private messages to potential mentors
This tip is the most difficult to follow because it requires confidence. It’s a great way of finding a job, however, to contact people in your field directly and tell them that you are interested in new opportunities. This is best done after you have had a conversation with someone via retweets and responses to their tweets.
Finnigan has been there. He says, “If someone approaches me out of the blue,” he said. “But if someone has said two or three times, “I watched your South by Southwest talk and thought you were on point,” or “Here’s another article on the same subject that you might like,” and that helps me make my presentations better than before, then I might be open to being receptive.” Twitter’s strength lies in the assumption that people will reciprocate.
Example of someone getting a job via Twitter:
A Jobvite head of design was being viewed by many people, including a Canada designer. The design chief publishes lots of content, gives talks and holds meet-ups. After having followed the Canadian designer for a while, he sent him a message using the @symbol. It stated that he liked what you had been saying on Twitter and agreed with your approach. I’d love to help you if you ever need someone to hire. “I’d love to be your designer.” The chief of design was actually looking for a designer, and ended up hiring the Canadian.