More and more articles are pointing to the importance of social media as part of a sound job search strategy and developing a Professional image online or Professional Branding is viewed by many, including “moi”, as one of the best ways of guaranteeing a Panic Free Job Search.

Part of your strategy should include twitter. Twitter is a microblogging site, i.e. it allows you to exchange short messages including links with other twitter users. Like most social media platforms, it has its own rules and has its own ‘culture’ which are outlined in more depth in my book, ‘The Panic Free Job Search: Unleash the Power of the Web and Social Networking to Get Hired’. These unique “manners” as well as what tactics work best to engage others are very important to understand. For example, the one thing I like about twitter over say LinkedIn is that twitter users tend to be more helpful and less concerned about protocol, status and who knows who, and typically as a group,  users are willing to extend a hand to help you on your way. In this case your way is to “getting hired”.

First things first, familiarize yourself with twitter, besides my book, two other great books’ teachings, about “twitter best practices”, can be applied to job search, namely:  John Locke’s book How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!, and Dan Zarrella,   Zarrella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness: The Science, Design, and Engineering of Contagious Ideas and of course you can always use YouTube or what I like to call YouTube University – many videos available to help you get started on twitter. You should know the lingo as well –don’t let this list of abbreviations and acronyms freak you out, it did me at first. Rather than learning how to use  all of these, use the list to decode tweets and as you get more accustomed to twitter you will catch on in time. You have a 140 characters to get your message out, per tweet, (btw-for longer tweets you can always send a tweet in parts) this is why using abbreviations can be a big bonus. I tend to limit my tweets to less than 121 characters thereby allowing for an RT if a follower would like to retweet my tweet to their followers.

Twitter Job Search Dos and Don’ts

Twitter Background – Develop a professional and creative twitter background that demonstrates your profession or occupation, or brand. You can do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you.

Avatar – Have a professional looking picture of yourself, remember, this is how other professionals are getting to know you. What message do you want to be sending? I personally prefer to see someone’s ‘mug’ over some random image. By the way carry the same picture throughout all your social sites.

Profile – Choose your twitter name wisely- get something professional. If you joined many moons ago and you think you need to change your “handle” to something more professional, then do it. Google changing your twitter name – some articles on how to do it without losing followers – not sure if it works or not – you will have to check it out or open a new account.

Set up a keyword rich ‘bio’ that reflects your occupation or profession, or the job that you are seeking.

Let the world know that you are open to considering new job opportunities, by stating “considering new job opportunities” or “Job-hunting – inquiries and help welcomed”, something that communicates  you are job hunting or being pro-active about job search.

Have a ‘tag line” 3 to 5 words that encapsulate you as a professional- Mine is “Job Search Expert”

Following – Begin following professionals in your space. Do keyword searches with TwitterSearch to find the professionals worth following. The next thing to do is to look at these search results for people’s “lists”. I have found that if you check out these folks list you will usually find a comprehensive list of “pros” worth following and all you have to do to get “following” is follow the people outlined in the comprehensive list.

Build an organic following by providing high value information – Stay away from the drive-through approach -“pay to get followers” stuff being offered. Provide through your tweets; links to information about your profession or occupation and this information should be information of high value to your followers. In my book, I provide the “how –to” which I detail in, what I call iBlitz17, 17 minutes a day to social media “made easy” where I detail, what to write about, when to interact/post/update status and how to automate it all – so you can still have a life. I prefer to have a strong core group of followers who interact with me than just a bunch of “fluff” followers. Once you have been around you can easily spot the 40,000 follower accounts built on 200 tweets.

Thank your followers – Always thank your followers and use the opportunity to send them a DM (direct message), saying thank you for following and let them know you are open to opportunities “Tx for following “I am on the job-hunt if you have suggestions or help my XX XXX” substitute your XX XXX for your LinkedIn profile or your web site. Use a URL shortner like (according to Zarrella the “shortner” that gets the most clicks) for the link to your profile/resume.

Employers of interest twitter list – Set up a twitter list with the employers that grab your fancy.

Tweet questions about your field – Engage the twittersphere by asking questions about your profession or occupation.

Hot jobs – Get a smart phone so you can reply as quickly as possible on any ‘job opening intel’ you get from twitter. Follow twitter lists about job searches, follow recruiters and HR people at the companies you are interested in, use keyword searches with TwitterSearch to find them. Use TwitHire, TweetMyJobs, as well as use NearbyTweets if you are seeking a job in a particular location. These types of services are growing all the time so keep-up-to-date by setting up alerts, I prefer using Google alerts.

Tweet about your job search – From time to time, reach out for some help and use the hashtag #resume so you can be found easily.

Follow me – And of course follow me on twitter @LandYourNextJob and I will follow you back.

Get on the Fast Track to Hired by putting these twitter first steps into practice.

To find out more on how to craft your compelling message as well as how to painlessly attract employers and opportunities, pickup the groundbreaking book The Panic Free Job Search: Unleash the Power of the Web and Social Networking to Get Hired, Career Press, NJ. Paul Hill is a career and job search coach, author and speaker.