Liz Holliday

Communications Specialist

ONLINE WORK: MEDIA FLAIR: TWEET YOUR WAY TO A JOB

The following is an article I wrote for my former website Mediaflr.com back in January 2011:

Twitter is a popular social networking tool, but can it land you a better job? Photo credit: David Saunders

Celebrities do it, companies do it, and so does your neighbour and roommate; with 145 million reported users in 2010, your mom probably does it too. Tweeting has become the most effective marketing tool since Egyptians first started using billboards in ancient times. People can now sit at home (or where ever their smart phones have service) and market themselves, their product, and company, all in 140 characters at a time.

Many claim when used effectively, Twitter can be the key to your future. Numerous blogs, articles, and reports have been written with the claim it will lead to success. However, is the concept of jobs through Twitter a bit of a stretch? Can Twitter actually get you a job?

YES, Tweet and Ye Shall Receive:

Laura Raines of Atlanta Business News says a few years ago she would be skeptical of gaining jobs through social networking, but not anymore. Raines explains the appeal of Twitter lies in its accessibility; “tweets are short (140 characters), to-the-point bits of data.” More so, she claims ‘tweets’ can help you find jobs not advertised elsewhere. “Employers are using social media to find and check out talent,” Raines writes.  And apparently Twitter will not only help you find jobs, but works as a “personal agent” as well. Raines says “it can amplify your personal brand, take your network global, give you access to cutting-edge knowledge and resources, and showcase your credibility and marketability.”

YES, But Keep It Fresh and Clean:

Not everyone agrees with Raines, however, Forbes’ blogger Susan Gunelius believes Twitter may actually prevent you from landing a job. Gunelius said “it is estimated that over half of hiring is based to some extent on social media research.” This means what you post online, could prevent you from getting your foot in the door at your next job interview. She notes that content on social networks should be kept clean (grandmother approved), kept calm (no angry rants), kept honest (cross your heart and hope to die), and kept quasi-censored (Twitter over-shares might come back to haunt you). According to Gunelius “most corporate human resources departments and hiring managers review job applicant’ online reputations and content before they are contacted for interviews.” So save yourself some grief and keep your dirt and dish for your diary.

Gunelius isn’t the only one out there who thinks a clean twitter account could help you look good to potential employers. The Wall Street Journal’s Jonnelle Marte insists never to tweet “about anything you wouldn’t want your boss or mother to see, and tell your friends to keep their tweets to you appropriate.” Personal anecdotes are fine according to Marte, however, they should be kept to a minimum.

NO, “Social Media Bible-Thumpers Are Nuts”:

Not everyone believes in the ‘jobs through Twitter’ revolution, especially during a recession. Social Media Explorer blogger Jason Falls thinks social media fanatics are similar to evangelical Christians. While Falls agrees it may help project a certain personal image, most companies are not “inside the tech bubble or hip to social media” and would not even consider using twitter over an old fashion interview. According to Falls, “the social media job security utopia doesn’t exist for most of the free world.” More so, he believes you should network, but not online. As he says, “the well-networked don’t apply for jobs, they go get them.” If you want a job, Falls suggests the old fashion method: face-to-face interviews, endless phone calls, voice mails and applications. Falls believes it is best to stick to the proven methods, and avoid social network soliciting because “executives that are making hiring and firing decision probably think the social media bible-thumpers are nuts.”

NO, Jobs Come from Humans, Not Twitter:

Clue Wagon’s Kerry Scott agrees with Falls that Twitter will not magically get users jobs (after all, it isn’t a school guidance counselor). She does admit that it can be “a great tool for a job hunter,” though it doesn’t just happen overnight. Scott writes that those attempting to find work through Twitter usually “sit quietly, waiting for lightning to strike.” With this kind of ‘let it come to me’ mentality, Scott writes, “there is no chance that you are going to get a job through Twitter. NO CHANCE.” The only way to get a job is through “humans”.  Scott believes you must put yourself out there, find the right people in your field to follow, and engage in dialogue. As Scott states “the nice thing about Twitter is that the culture allows you to just…start talking.”

CONCLUSION, What We’ve Learned:

Thus, it appears Twitter will not hand you a job on a golden platter (although wouldn’t that be great?). If you want a job, it will take work and perseverance, however, social media doesn’t seem to hurt the process (assuming your Twitter account is kept clean). By following the right people, and social networking the crap out of yourself, Twitter has the potential to help you spot the jobs, and get you a foot in the door.

3 Responses to “ONLINE WORK: MEDIA FLAIR: TWEET YOUR WAY TO A JOB”

  1. Glad to read this blog! Keep it going!

  2. Adriana says:

    thanks for share!

  3. Great Ideas… Number 3 is a great force…sharing what you have learned is a great education…Thanks for sharing…Greg Avery