5 Smart Ways to Use Twitter in Your Job Search

Use these tips to build your social credibility during a job search and become better known in your industry.

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What’s your experience on Twitter? If you’re like many people, you created a Twitter name, hopped on, and then quickly hopped off, dismissing the social networking site as pointless, trivial, or hard to follow.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. What if you heard Twitter could be a helpful tool to build social credibility during a job search? Or to help you establish a strong personal brand and become better known in your industry?

[See 10 Ways to Use Social Media in Your Job Search.]

Now would Twitter be worth your time?

To help you get started (or re-started) on the right foot, have a look at my simple daily checklist to successfully getting started on Twitter.

Then use Twitter for your job search in these five ways:

Follow influencers. Who are some of the biggest influencers in your industry? Search their name on Twitter and follow them. You can also try to search “their name + Twitter” in Google, a search tactic that’s often more effective than Twitter’s search.

Pay attention to what those influencers are saying and what they’re sharing. And read these tips about why people follow on Twitter to improve your odds of them following you back.

Tweet your keywords. You’ll want to tweet your own thoughts as well as re-tweeting or messaging others. So why not tweet your keywords? Keywords are single words or phrases used to attract people who are searching for those terms on Twitter. If you have key strengths or competencies on your resume, include those in your tweets. And add a hashtag to the beginning of a keyword (#strategy) so it’s easier for people to find them (and you).

[See 5 Job-Hunting Ideas You Haven't Tried.]

Follow Target Companies. Have you identified at least 10 target companies for your job search? If not, do this first. Once you have them, follow those employers’ Twitter accounts. Also follow key people working for each target company. Once you do, begin to share what they say through a re-tweet to your followers (which is similar to forwarding an e-mail). You can also send them a message (by placing an @ sign in front of their Twitter name) if you have something relevant and valuable to share.

Create lists. To categorize people you follow, create Twitter lists. That allows you to more easily watch what a specific group of people is saying. It also allows you to show some love to those people you listing. For example, create a list called “Great Companies in (your city)” or “Smart people in (your industry)”. Everyone likes being listed, because it helps you build influence on Twitter.

[For more career advice, visit U.S. News Careers, or find us on Facebook or Twitter.]

Use a third-party application. Free applications will help you get the most out of Twitter. Through tools like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, you can follow multiple conversations, see who is using certain keywords, and more easily follow those you’ve listed.

What smart ways have you used Twitter for your job search?

Tim Tyrell-Smith is founder of Tim's Strategy, a site that helps professionals succeed in job search, career and life strategy. Follow Tim on Twitter, @TimsStrategy, and share his 30 Ideas Book with job-seeking friends.

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