In this column we tried to look across the specter of the best strategies to adopt when harnessing your Twitter account for career hunting purposes. We focused on the timing and the nature of your tweets, on the accounts to keep an eye on, and more recently on the way to engage with other tweeters via Twitter chats. In a word, we looked into the THINGS TO DO. But since mistakes, of yours or others, are a great source of learning, this article will focus on WHAT NOT TO DO when searching for a career on Twitter.
The World Wide Web is rife with stories about grads who never landed that position which was almost theirs due to a thoughtless tweet or employees who inadvertently created a negative image for their own company on Twitter and got fired as a result. Let’s take Connor Riley, a graduate student at the University of California-Berkeley. After receiving a job offer from Cisco, she tweeted: "Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work." A Cisco employee was quick to retort: "Who is the hiring manager. I'm sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the Web." This obviously lowered her chances of getting hired and even won her the web nickname of “Cisco Fatty”. Not the kind of situation you would like to picture yourself in, right?
Obvious or not, you need to be aware at all times that anyone, really anyone at all, can read your tweets! With more and more employers scanning desirable candidates on Google, Facebook and Twitter, the chances of them landing on an offensive remark you posted at some point in time are high. This is especially so if such a faux-pas refers to their brand name or field of industry, since most of them are, as the anonymous Cisco employee put it “versed in the Web”.
But that is not all! Even if you do trim the content of your tweets and have a professional approach in general, here are some other common Twitter mistakes that could cost you followers:
Excessive following: Yes, follow many accounts to gather information and win your own audience, but watch out: you can come out as needy if you indiscriminately follow thousands of accounts. Focus instead of those accounts which are really relevant to your purpose of launching your career!
Spamming: It is good to tweet about yourself and about the projects you are taking part in. But pay extra attention to that “Sales” tone of voice which your followers might not appreciate and interpret as obnoxious propaganda. At the same time they will not be very interested in knowing what you just had for dinner or what you shopped on eBay last night!
Automatic messages: Many accounts set up sending automatic messages once you follow them. But this is a worse idea than you might think. First of all, an automatic message lands in the inbox and with so many of them piling up there, people hardly ever read them. Secondly, they are automatic so highly impersonal and slightly offensive at the same time. We at Real World believe that directly tweeting to your latest followers to say “hi” and “thank you” now and then is a friendlier approach and a better strategy to welcome new connections.
Klara Losonczy @ Real World Magazine