April 26, 2011 | | 5 Comments If you’re a college student, you’ve probably heard the buzz about Twitter. Many people, even upcoming graduates, might find Twitter to be more of a “post your thoughts” social tool, akin to text messaging. But in reality, Twitter can be a valuable job assist tool for every college graduate, especially in such a competitive marketplace. As a smart and savvy graduate, you should optimize social media to your advantage; and if you haven’t taken the Twitter plunge yet, there’s no time like the present to dive into this vast world of possibility. Twitter doesn’t release user numbers, but most public estimates put the user base at around four million to five million, with about 30% or more being very new or limited users. That’s quite a formidable group for job seekers to tap into. Wise graduates will do well to follow the following steps and add Twitter to their job hunting arsenal. Create a Twitter account Since you will be using this account for a professional job search, you need to brand yourself as a professional. Use your name as a Twitter handle (i.e. JaneSmith, JohnSmith) and take the time to create a professional profile that will attract other professionals in your target market. If you don’t have a blog or website, you can connect it to your LinkedIn profile. Use key words in your profile that will communicate your education and/or job experience (i.e. effective social media marketer, background in internet marketing, experience in global marketplace). Use a professional looking avatar, usually a picture, and create a background that communicates your career background, education and experience. Work on your follower list As with any job search, it’s often not “what you know”, but “who you know” that helps you get your foot in the door. Job recruiters are now using Twitter to look for potential job applicants. Do some searches looking for the companiesÂ you are interested in working for using LinkedIn or Google and search for their Twitter username. Follow them and read their feeds; they often post information related to current job openings. Increase your list of followers daily and they will begin to follow you back. Get the word out that you are job hunting Once you have established a strong follow list and are following some recruiters, begin to get the word out that you are searching for a job. Use the 140 characters to craft a simple job statement, including the type of job you are interested in and the type of company or industry that most interests you. Make use of the Twitter job resources You can do a search for “jobs” or “marketing”, but the most effective way to use Twitter for your post-graduation job search is to use some applications that have been created to help employers and job seekers. One of these tools is @Microjobs: employers use the service and their jobs are automatically tweeted to their network of followers. Another resource is TweetMyJobs. Follow the #TweetMyJobs hashtag for up-to-the-minute job postings. There are a variety of Twitter accounts specifically created to provide job listings by field, company, region, and more. You can also sign up on Twitter for mobile alerts from these accounts ensuring that you are among the first to be notified of specific job openings. Communicate your expertise Use Twitter to communicate your knowledge and expertise within your specific field. You can use “what’s happening” area in your profile to post articles related to the job segments you are searching in. You can offer advise and answer questions related to specific industries. Both of these tactics will attract the interest of recruiters and possibly company executives who are on Twitter as well. Additionally, by communicating regularly pertinent information, Google is now ranking tweets in their searches. This adds to your credibility in your field. Have you used Twitter to find a job? Leave a comment here and tell us about your experience. Earn your master’s degree while working full time.