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Will Tweet for Work

In an age where the ranks of unemployed meet social media, Twitter is emerging as the go-to place for recruiters and job seekers alike.

Will Tweet for Work

If you are one of the 14.5 million Americans, who are unemployed and looking for work, you’ve surely heard, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Hopefully, diligent networking has you handing out business cards and resumes faster than a Las Vegas card dealer in hopes of connecting with your next paycheck.

But thanks to social media–especially Twitter–it is possible to widen that circle of “who you know” with virtual handshakes in the form of a few choice tweets.

“I’ve seen more people mining Twitter as a powerful tool to build a career plan B,” explains Jonathan Fields, author of The Career Renegade. He says Twitter allows job seekers to search by area of interest then join conversations in real time to develop relationships.

“Twitter often provides direct access to influencers, thought leaders, and hiring execs that’s hard to get in the “real” world. You can follow them and then demonstrate your value through conversation,” says Fields, “The challenges are simply knowing this option exists and then knowing and respecting the largely unwritten rules of social media when engaging with new people.”

That said, learning Twitter etiquette may be a better proposition than going through job boards. A comScore study revealed that more than 65 million Americans visited them in June, 10% more than a year ago.

Still not sure about tweeting for work? Consider this:

80% of companies plan to use social networking to find and attract candidates this year, according to a study published by Jobvite recently. Though LinkedIn, with its resume-like format, emerged as the leading social media used for recruiting purposes, Twitter came in third with a whopping 42% of recruiters tapping it for potential candidates.

The targeted networking potential of services such as Jobvite Inc., TweetMyJobs.com and others that operate through social media, only serves to make looking for work through Twitter more attractive.

Don’t worry about the enormous reach of social media producing a flood of applicants as, say CareerBuilder. Jobvite’s CEO, Dan Finnigan emphasizes the value of his company’s service in making networking more targeted. “On Twitter, people will pay the most attention to what those they follow tweet. Only people with an interest in the industry or company generally re-tweet Jobvites, so the broadcast of information is focused. There’s an element of self-selection in the activity,” he says.

Finnigan points out that Jobvite is the only recruitment application that has industry-first integration with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. “Jobvite empowers all employees to make referrals–the highest–quality, lowest-cost source of hires. Matching technology helps target the Jobvite to the right talent,” he says. Launched in 2006, Jobvite’s platform has served TiVo, Mozilla, Digg, and the very Twitter-friendly Zappos.com among others.

Though TweetMyJobs has only been in operation since March 2009, taking advantage of the speed of Twitter has brought the company tremendous growth in just a few months. “We have built close to 6,000 vertical job channels on Twitter, which greatly reduces the “noise” for jobseekers. To be able to instantly get job openings in the hands of job seekers not only makes the process more efficient, but may make the difference between getting a job, or not,” says Gary Zukowski, TweetMyJobs founder. He’s referring to their service which sends text messages to cellphones as soon as jobs are posted.

“We also allow job seekers to upload their Public Profile, and tweet their resume, which instantly reaches recruiters and hiring managers,” notes Zukowski. That is helpful, because many people find it a challenge to stick to the 140 character tweet limit.

A Twitter bio with relevant key words can carry a lot of weight, says Finnigan, stressing the importance of linking to a personal blog, Web site or LinkedIn profile. “Most importantly, the Tweets themselves provide a picture of someone’s interests and insights,” and their potential value to an employer, he says.

Twtjobs, however, does require posting a 140 character resume or job descriptions on a simple 10 field screen that is then posted on Twitter. Felipe Coimbra, founder of Twtapps, who developed Twtjobs agrees with Finnegan, “The idea behind the 140-character resume is to give a summary about what they’re looking for (either in a candidate or job). The Twitter resume will link back to their feed and other social media sites and LinkedIn resume, which will tell much more.”

Employers pay to use the Jobvite and TweetMyJobs services, but there is no charge for job seekers. Twtjobs is not fee-based for either party.

The important thing to remember, says Zukowski, is that Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and Myspace all have a role in recruiting. “Using any of them should be considered an augmentation of your current recruiting practices, not a replacement, and using all of them effectively will give you many tools to increase your productivity.”

About the author

Lydia Dishman is a business journalist writing about the intersection of tech, leadership, commerce, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.

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