Local News

Tweets can lead to jobs

Posted June 5, 2009 2:20 p.m. EDT
Updated June 5, 2009 7:27 p.m. EDT

— Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn aren't just for socializing anymore. Job seekers are making the networking sites work them as well.

Kelly Giles started looking for a job while still a senior at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

"I started doing a little bit of research, and sure enough, it was recommended (that) in this economy, you should be doing things on Twitter and LinkedIn. And I said, 'Oh, I don't know what any of those are!'" Giles said.

She started posting on the sites, though, and eventually found someone who introduced her to a company in Durham.

"From tweet to job was about a week," Giles said.

UNC career counselor Gary Miller said he is increasingly seeing people who have found jobs through social networking.

"I think it can be a tremendous tool," Miller said.

The key is adapting the technology to your career goals, he said. Tweeting about what you ate for breakfast likely won't get a job, but tweeting about your TV views could land someone a job in the entertainment or news industry.

"Having those conversations about content that is specific to your industry can result in professionalizing yourself online and help those connections," Miller said.

Other career counselors, though, said that Twitter is a waste of time during a job search and recommended other sites.

"I think LinkedIn is the way to go. It's the more professional site in my view," career counselor Linda Conklin said.

Conklin said she advises her clients to focus on a specific company and then try to connect via LinkedIn with people who work there.

"That way you can get to a real human being, and that's what this is all about," Conklin said.

Counselors also recommended using the same name when setting up various social-networking accounts. The consistency helps develop your online brand and makes potential employers more likely to find you, Miller said.

When you connect to someone online, always try to verify their identity before meeting in person.

Both counselors warned not to rely solely on social networking to find a job.

"You want to have a little bit of everything that you are trying," Conklin said.

For Giles, social networking paid off – she's got a position as director of social media.

"I'm now like a Twitter evangelist," she said.