It won’t come as any surprise to learn that employers research candidates on social media before interviewing or hiring them.
The question is how to make sure your social media presence is an asset rather than a liability when you’re looking for contracts.
Here, iContract’s Marketing Manager Chris Lee provides his top tips for improving your Twitter profile.
It takes time to build up a following on Twitter and you need to look consistent and active over time, so get started on the following steps weeks before you go looking for new work:
1) Clean up your feed
Twitter differs from the altogether more personal Facebook, where it’s a good idea to protect your account by making it private. Twitter is all about networking with new people so should be open.
As a result, everything you post on Twitter is public. Nearly half (49%) of hiring managers say they’ve decided not to hire someone because of content on their social feeds. This included provocative or inappropriate photos, videos or information, drug or alcohol use, or bad-mouthing previous employers or colleagues.
Before you embark on a new contract hunt, be sure that you go over your Twitter feed is clean of any controversial content.
Remember that what you find funny may not tickle others, and they may well not share your politics. Best to play it safe!
2) Customise your account
Once you’ve got rid of any potentially compromising content, the next step is to make your feed look good. This means picking a profile shot that captures your personality perfectly, and also use a header image that embodies what you stand for.
Complete your profile and direct people to your LinkedIn profile or personal blog so they can learn more about you.
People will decide in seconds whether or not they think you’re worth following. You picture and profile write-up are incredibly important.
Whatever you do, don’t use the default egg picture. No one follows an egg.
3) Professionalise your feed
If you know you are going to be looking for work in a particular field, such as law, IT or financial services, start sharing links related to that field either as retweets (RT) or quoted tweets (QT) with your own opinion on those stories?
Recruiters and decision makers reviewing your feed will see your viewpoint on the stories that matter to their industry. Better still, if you don’t have a blog already set one up (or use the LinkedIn publishing tool, LinkedIn Pulse) and share your posts on Twitter.
Remember to include some of your personality in your posts, but don’t overdo it on weekdays and steer clear of posting on a big night out!
The key thing is to be consistent in what you tweet about and do it daily. There’s nothing worse than a neglected feed.
It’s not just about the content you post. Twitter is a social network after all. Follow the relevant hashtags and get involved in industry Twitter chats. Follow the people that matter in your industry – press, influencers, recruiters, organisations – and interact with them.
A professional Twitter feed should not be a mundane stream of consciousness, but rather a useful source of information that other people want to follow and engage with.
Twitter provides an incredible amount of performance data in Twitter Analytics. Make sure you use it! What type of content performed best? What time of day did you get the most engagement?
If a great post didn’t get much traction try sharing it again but with a different header and hashtags.
Twitter is a great business-networking tool, and often encounters online can lead to real-life meetings. But you must use Twitter wisely in order to impress potential employers.
You can also follow us on Twitter for the latest contracting tips.
We will cover LinkedIn best practice in an upcoming post, but be sure to check out our podcast on how to use social media to win contracts.