Photo: Robert Scoble via flickr
Most savvy job seekers nowadays know the benefits of using social media to hunt down a job. LinkedIn profiles, Facebook ads, blogging, Twitter… If you’re not taking advantage of the opportunities these networks provide, you’ve either made a conscious decision to avoid them or you’re just lazy.So I’m not going to sit here and talk at you about how the more people you know, the better for your career. Nor will I explain for the umpteenth time how learning social media is a hugely valuable skill for almost any job out there.
What I am going to bitch to you about though is how to position yourself when you do take the plunge.
Raise your virtual hand if you’ve seen someone on Twitter who’s bio looks like this:
Recent grad from Fancy College. ~*~*~ HIRE ME ~*~*~ #communications #marketing #health
Let’s break down why this bio doesn’t work and what to do instead.
No-no: “Recent grad from Fancy College”
You have 140 characters on Twitter to show off your skills. Do you think anyone will care what college you went to? Maybe, but new graduates often put more emphasis on school than they need to.
Your university can provide a great connection; if someone sees you graduated from their alma mater, that could open some doors. That’s why I added my Davidson affiliation when I was looking for work, not because our network is huge, but because Davidson grads are like a cult. They WILL help you out.
But. Remember that very few of the people you meet on Twitter will have gone to your school. That means maybe your school shouldn’t be your No. 1 selling point.
Instead: Give priority to your skills, experience and passion, and add your alma mater only if you have space. Potential employers will eventually figure out where you graduated from. A LOT of recent grads are looking for work. Do you really want to be yet another unemployed, over-educated kid looking for a job? Avoiding the traditional “Recent grad looking for work” trap will help you stand out.
No-no: “HIRE ME”
There’s something a little desperate about shouting HIRE ME from the social media rooftops. I’m all for being obvious, but there are other ways to show you’re hunting.
Always bring your online behaviour back to how you’d act in real life. Would you walk up to someone at your dream company and shout “HIRE ME!” in their face? Please tell me the answer is no.
Instead: Something as simple as “Looking for a communications job in Philly” could work. But I’ve seen some creative job-hunting bios that are likely to be more effective.
Here are a few examples I pulled out of my brains (and do share your suggestions in the comments!):
Design-obsessed marketing pro, specializing in bold ad campaigns. Job hunting in New York. My last agency bosses say I’ll blow your socks off.
Barista in Seattle seeks rad coffee gig. I make a mean flat white. Don’t know what a flat white is? Just you wait…
Perfecting the lost art of the press release while looking for the next big PR job in Chicago. Curious? Read the clips on my website.
Mention you’re looking for work, but don’t shout. And on that note, don’t just mention it, highlight how much you love what you do and the specific skills you bring to the table.
Putting hashtags in your bio doesn’t make your profile easier to find. Seriously, look at it. Hashtags, like links, make your profile hard to read. It’s not even a freaking sentence.
Instead: Just talk about things you love and what you’re good at; give people a reason to be interested in you. Cut the hashtags and actually form a coherence sentence. Come on, I know you can.
Really? How old are you, twelve?
I’ve actually seen grown people use hearts and stars in their bio. This isn’t pretty and only draws the bad kind of attention. Like too much cleavage at an interview.
So let’s rewrite this trashy bio, shall we? I’ll leave it to you to snazzy it up in the comments. Or, if you prefer, leave us your Twitter bio. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, we offer edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work — this isn’t your parents’ career-advice blog. Be Brazen.
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