If you haven’t checked out mediabistro.com – do! It cuts a lot of the “internships” listed on craigslist, and thus reduces the amount of time it takes you to scan the listings for viable employment options. This article from them, “3 Simple Ways…” is a great resource on how to use Twitter to help in your job search. Here’s where I get a little confused- I understand that Twitter can be a great resource, as can its system of hashtags and search engine- but how do you maintain a Twitter that is both employment appropriate AND interesting?
I’ve noticed that a lot of companies lately ask for a link to your personal Twitter account, often justifying this request by adding, “So we can get a sense of who you are.” I’ve read plenty of interviews with recruiting firms and hiring partners that extoll the virtue of Twitter for really getting a sense of what someone is all about, in five minutes or less, before you even walk through the door. Twitter, unlike Facebook, is delightfully unencumbered of your high school years and the photos that accompany those…interesting…times. Most people have acquired a Twitter account in the last year or two, making the “cleaning up for prospective employers” process a lot more manageable.
Getting back to the original question- is it better to go through and censor your current Twitter account or create a new one with the sole directive of aiding your search for employment? I always wonder what an employer will think of a “clean Twitter slate”, if you will. It’s clear that you deemed your personal Twitter unacceptable for some reason- and doesn’t that leave everyone wondering what exactly it is your hiding? The only conclusion I’ve come to is to keep your personal Twitter, but follow these three steps before you start listing it publicly in your employment search.
1. Go through your Tweets and delete any that fall outside the realm of “acceptable”- whatever you determine this to be.
2. Change your bio to reflect what your looking for in your job search. Use key words.
3. Keep tweeting as usual, but try to tweet at least once every few days something relevant to your desired field of employment.
In a world so focused on social media it’s inevitable that the employment game will reflect that many of us lead very public internet lives that we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking are private. The only solution is to curb your internet persona- put the brakes on Facebook and Twitter as a personal web space, and come to terms with the fact that no matter how private you imagine your internet presence to be, the information you post is out there in cyberspace forever. You draft and re-draft your cover letter and resume, choose the perfect outfit for the interview, rehearse potential questions and responses, so after all that effort don’t forget to groom the “internet-you” as well!