Twitter is more than just a means of telling the world what you’re doing: it actually has great potential for networking and finding out about work experience and job opportunities.
Step 1: Set up your Twitter profile
- Use your real name if possible – people who use their real name engender greater trust in readers.
- Don’t forget to write your one line ‘bio’. Make sure it tells people who you are and what your main areas of interest are. Look at other people’s bios to get ideas. Incorporate keywords as people will use these to find you – particularly important for graduates hoping to be head-hunted by recruiters who increasingly use keyword searches.
- Include a link to your blog/website/LinkedIn profile if you have one.
- Don’t make your Twitter account private as you need to be visible. If you don’t want it to get mixed up with your personal Twitter feed, create a Twitter account just for work-related activity.
Step 2: Start tweeting
Tweet about things that will be of interest to others in the professions which interest you. For example, you could tweet interesting news articles, your work activities, professional musings and questions. So, whilst “Just polished off a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, I can forget getting into that dress! #chunkymonkey” might be okay as a status update on Facebook with friends, for professional networking purposes on Twitter, something like “New social media internships in Hull. Does this reflect growing job opportunities in this industry sector? <Insert tinyurl>” is probably more appropriate. (If you are linking to a website in a tweet, convert it to a ‘tiny URL’ to save characters using www.tinyurl.com.) You can also use Twitter to draw attention to things you’re proud of so link to blog posts and do retweet complimentary tweets you receive. Show you are someone who is worth following!
Step 3: Start following people and organisations in areas of professional interest
- You can follow someone on Twitter without them having to follow you. So if you’re interested in a media career, start off by following your favourite journalists.
- Following companies’ official accounts is a good way of showing your interest and following individual employees is also a good way to make contacts – they may also be more likely to respond to you.
- Use the Twitter search itself, Twitter directories or search tools like www.twellow.com to find relevant contacts.
- Look for your existing contacts on Twitter or people you find elsewhere on the web (eg, bloggers and people advertising jobs). See who your contacts are following and use that to expand your network.