Twitter and smart career decisions usually don’t mix.
Remember that public relations executive who lost her job over a racist tweet she made just before going on vacation? By the time her plane landed, she was out of a job.
And hers isn’t the only horror story. People have lost jobs because they’ve tweeted everything from insensitive jokes to complaints about a potential employer to—gulp!—expletives from a corporate account, assuming it was a personal one.
But while Twitter has proven to be a career-ending danger zone for some, it is possible to use it to your professional advantage if you’re careful and strategic, according to CNNMoney. At the very least, it’s not a bad idea to start cleaning up your profile, because some 95% of recruiters say they plan to use social media to find and recruit new candidates.
Here are some tips for letting your hashtag lead to a hot job:
Polish your profile. Think of your headshot as the interview suit of your social media. Use it to make a good first impression, and upload the same one across your social media profiles, says career expert Dan Schawbel. He also suggests using a Twitter handle that hints at your career (i.e, @JaneSmith_CPA); to use the characters in your bio to tout your experience and a hobby (for a personal touch); and to link to your LinkedIn profile for access to your full resume.
Follow industry influencers. Finding and following executives and hiring managers can help open the lines of communication.
Provide “social proof.” That means that you can demonstrate that you know what you are talking about. You can do that by tweeting important industry news that your target audience would be interested in.
Retweet your influencers. Sharing the posts of people important to your industry is a way to get into their good graces—and could pay off even more if they tweet you back, because then your Twitter handle is visible to his or her followers. As such, leave 15 to 30 blank characters in your tweet, so the person has enough space to respond without going over the character limit.
When using social media to boost your professional network, just be sure not to get too carried away—check out this advice from an online reputation manager to figure out where to draw the line.