– In my practice, I rarely come across executive job seekers who are actively leveraging Twitter to help them land jobs.The few who even have Twitter accounts put up a few tweets initially, and then let it go. Their Twitter stream stopped dead months or years ago.This doesn’t look very good, and could be detrimental to them. A Twitter account that’s collecting cobwebs says “I don’t really know much or care to know about social media and the new world of work.”Understandably, they’re busy people strapped for time, trying to juggle demanding full-time jobs with a full-time job search. They’ve heard too many people say what a time drain Twitter can be.They’re right. Without a solid Twitter strategy, each visit can easily eat up an hour or more. They just don’t have that kind of extra time.
– Stay Focused on Your Job Search and Your Personal Brand. Don’t start or engage in conversations not related to your job search. No one really needs to know what you had for breakfast or what movie you saw last night.Keep the majority of your tweets relevant to your personal brand, industry, areas of expertise, and value to your target companies. That doesn’t mean you can’t tweet off-topics and humorous tidbits, when you have extra time.
– Do a Lot of Retweeting. Simply the act of tweeting again a tweet that someone else has tweeted, retweeting (abbreviated as “RT”) is one of my favorite ways to use Twitter and one of the best ways to save time there.Even if you do nothing else on Twitter, posting relevant retweets can be a powerful way to build brand evangelism, a quality Twitter following, and get on the radar and stay top-of-mind with people you want to notice you.First, gather up a long list of the right people to retweet. Who are these people? Colleagues, industry thought leaders and subject matter experts, top-level executives (or hiring decision makers) at your target companies, and executive recruiters in your niche, to name a few.Search for them on Twitter, follow them, and start retweeting them. It’s as easy as that!It’s critical to include in your retweet the @username of the person who originated the tweet, because they’ll see the retweet on their “Notifications” page. Chances are you’ll get noticed, if enough of your retweets show up there for each person you’re retweeting. If a good retweet doesn’t mention the original author, take the time to track them down and include their @username.
– Don’t automatically retweet something containing a link without first checking it, to make sure it’s not a bad link and doesn’t lead somewhere you don’t really want to send people.
– Structure your original tweets so that they’re short enough to allow for more than one retweet by others, without alteration.
– Take the time to tweet a thank you to people who RT you, even if you’re not the tweet originator.
– It’s always nice to include your own brief supportive comment with a re-tweet that’s especially good – something like “Great advice!” or “Excellent!”
– Don’t change the wording of the original tweet, except to abbreviate for space. But use abbreviations sparingly. A jumble of single letters and numbers can be confounding and doesn’t give a professional impression.
– If you’re not already following someone you want to retweet, coincide retweeting with following them. They may notice your @username showing up twice on the “Notifications” page in that short span.
– Retweeting using the retweet button that sits under each tweet and on many websites at the top or bottom of an article or blog post make retweeting easy. But sometimes these retweets don’t include the @username. Take a few moments to add it in.
– Use hashtags in your RTs when you can. The hashtag symbol (“#”) is used before a word or phrase (with no spaces) to mark relevant keywords and topics in tweets. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages. Clicking on a hashtagged word in a tweet shows you all other tweets marked with that keyword.
– Organize Your Twitter Strategy. Use Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or another Twitter app to help you organize your time, the people you follow, the people you want to retweet frequently, and to set up retweets in advance.Do your thank you’s for retweets, #FollowFridays (#FF) and other mentions all in communal tweets, every few days. No need to thank each person in a separate tweet.Consult the Twitter Help pages for specifics on using re-tweets, hashtags, and other things.
– Spend your time wisely. Sure Twitter is helpful and can be a great tool to leverage for finding work, but nothing works better than networking and Twitter is just a small percentage of the overall scope. 10 minutes a day is plenty on Twitter. Move on though and avoid getting stuck in the social media vortex, because once you’re sucked in, a full hour could go by in a snap.