When you think of online job searching, you probably think about sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor. These are specifically designed to help you build a professional profile and connect with great companies. Nevertheless, they probably aren’t the biggest component of your online presence.
Most people spend more time on Facebook and Twitter, and they post more often on these sites. Facebook and Twitter might not be directly linked to your career, but they can still impact your job prospects.
Seventy-three percent of recruiters use Facebook to research candidates, and 53% will check your Twitter. With 50% of recruiters planning on increasing their social media budgets, this number can only be expected to grow. Even if you’re not actively using Twitter to job search, your profile can help or harm your chances. What recruiters find may color their opinion of you.
Don’t let your Twitter turn into a disadvantage. Check out what you can do to make yourself into the perfect job candidate!
(Hint: We also have a handy-dandy Facebook guide for job seekers.)
1. Privacy: Decide what you want from your Twitter
Twitter allows you to make your account either public or private. Public accounts will be wholly visible to recruiters (and your supervisor after you’re hired). On a private account, however, only your followers can see your tweets and you have to approve any new followers before they can access your content.
To make your account private, click on your profile picture in the top right corner and select “Settings and privacy.” Under “Privacy and safety” check off the box that says, “Protect your Tweets.” Scroll to the bottom of the page and save your changes.
While you’re on this page, you might want to double check your other privacy settings. It’s always a good idea to review them once in a while!
If you decide to keep your profile public, consider deleting any content that might estrange recruiters. This includes polarizing political or religious views, posts promoting alcohol, guns, or drugs, and comments/jokes that could be considered offensive.
Since Twitter is a free tool, you also have the option of keeping two accounts: one private account and one public account where you share posts related to your career. A professional account builds up your personal brand and gives you a competitive edge over other candidates. It’s also a great way to network!
2. The Twitter Handle
On Twitter, followers see your handle all the time. It appears on all of your tweets and retweets, which means people will come to strongly associate it with you. You might not want to be known as @GlitterUnicorn5000. There’s nothing wrong with glitter unicorns, but it’s not very professional.
Avoid handles that are suggestive, polarizing, overly silly, contain curse words, or include your birth year.
As a general rule, the best handles are variants of your name. If your name is taken (with over 300 million users, most names already are), try including a middle initial, an underscore, a location, or a profession.
For example, @BobSmith is probably taken, but good viable options include:
You can easily change your handle on an existing account. Simply click on your profile picture in the top right corner and select “Settings and privacy.” Under Account, your handle or username is the first option that appears on the page.
3. Name & Profile Picture
Your Twitter name is the name displayed on your main profile. Unlike handles, these don’t have to be unique. There can be a hundred Bob Smiths, and that’s fine, so choose the name you want recruiters to see, which should probably be your first and last name.
Right over your name, you’ll see your profile picture. Your Twitter picture doesn’t have to be as formal as your LinkedIn picture. No business casual or professional photographer required! Nevertheless, a good picture will still help build a credible online presence.
In fact, if you’re going to keep your account strictly professional, you might still want to consider pictures where you’re wearing business professional attire. Throw on a blazer and snap a couple of shots in good lighting!
Even on personal accounts, you should avoid profile pictures that might alienate recruiters. Don’t pose with alcohol, guns, or drugs. Make sure you’re not wearing items that promote political parties. Aim to find a good quality picture where you’re warm, welcoming, and approachable.
The Twitter Bio is a snapshot of who you are. Unlike LinkedIn, you shouldn’t summarize your entire resume. In fact, with Twitter’s character limit, you wouldn’t get very far anyhow. Keep your bio short and sweet.
A good professional bio states your field, any major accomplishments, and what topics you’re going to be posting about. Humor is fine, but unfortunately hard to do. When in doubt, keep it simple.
To edit your bio, click on “Edit Profile.” You’ll be able to type your new bio right into the text box.
If you think you need more space to cover your accomplishments, make the most out of the link feature. Twitter provides a space specifically allotted to a link. It can be to your website, LinkedIn, or blog (assuming it is a professional blog, and not about your summer road trip visiting famous taco stands in every state).
Sure, Twitter is great for looking at memes and sharing jokes, but it can also be a powerful networking tool. Twitter is great for interacting with people and brands. It can help you meet others in your field and research interesting companies. To get the most out of Twitter as a job seeker, follow organizations, recruiters, job board websites, and influential leaders.
Find people who have succeeded in your field. If you’re a woman in tech, you can follow people such as Sara J. Chipps, founder of the nonprofit Girl Develop It, and Rachael King, technology reporter for the Wall Street Journal. If you’re in publishing, you can follow your favorite literary magazines. Don’t be afraid to engage people in conversation. Twitter is supposed to be interactive. That’s what it’s for!
Tweet any sage advice you have for others in your field. Share articles on industry news and trends.
In order to keep your Twitter alive and vibrant, consider sharing:
- News, articles, and innovations that are relevant to your field
- Tips, tricks, and wisdom from your professional experience
- Retweets from industry leaders and innovators
- Interesting stats about your field
- Personal accomplishments
- Major accomplishments in the company you’re working for
It’s also good to know what not to share. Reconsider posts such as:
- Drunk photos from the office holiday party
- Tweets where you speak negatively of your current or past employer
- Tweets where you speak negatively of your coworkers
- Jokes or quips that could be considered offensive (it doesn’t matter how funny you find it, if it could be offensive to someone, it’s better not to post it)
It’s worth noting that, according to CareerBuilder, out of employers who have rejected a candidate based on social media, 27 percent said it was because the candidate had poor communication skills. A few minutes double-checking the grammar and spelling of your post can save you a whole lot of embarrassment down the road.
There’s no denying the fact that social media has become a central part of our lives. For better or for worse, it’s now also a key part of the job search. Your online presence may be the first glimpse recruiters see of your personality. How you portray yourself on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn matters.
While it’s unlikely that recruiters will reject you for having no online presence, it might give you a disadvantage over other candidates. Recruiters can subconsciously lean towards people they’ve seen online, sharing work news and accomplishments. Having a strong professional presence gives you a competitive edge and it might make all the difference when applying for your dream job.
If you create a strong personal brand online, it won’t just help you land a job now; it’ll provide opportunities throughout your career.
At Roth Staffing we’re committed to helping you in your job search. Check out our Facebook and LinkedIn guides to learn how to fully harness the power of social media!