You have to pay attention to how companies are using Twitter to check out candidates for job openings when someone like Sarah Robb O’Hagan, the president of Equinox, says she doesn’t care about your credentials, she would rather see your Twitter feed. Seriously?

By now all job seekers should know that the first step in a hiring process today is to check out a potential candidate on Google. What your online presence says about you speaks volumes to a potential employer.

Up until now, many job seekers have thought of Twitter as a kid’s game or useful only to share personal tidbits to your followers like “what not to do when you’re sleep deprived,” or “Beiber in cuffs? Yep, that will get people talking.”

In reality, companies are checking Twitter feeds to identify leadership qualities. Look at this scenario from a hiring manager’s point of view. You have two somewhat equally qualified candidates. One doesn’t have a Twitter feed or have much of an online presence at all but graduated from an ivy-league school. The other has 30,000 followers on Twitter and may not have quite all the qualifications requested with a mediocre educational background. What does that tell the company?

O’Hagan’s opinion about the person who has 30,000 followers, “Clearly this person has identified something about leadership—he or she could be the one to lead our business forward.”

Make Twitter work for you in your job search.

Start with research

Follow the influences in your industry. Understand these people—get to know their backgrounds (check them out on LinkedIn) and identify those that might help you connect to job opportunities. These people often post relevant information and even job postings on Twitter.

Criteria to choose whom to follow

What makes a person an influencer in your field? Is it their knowledge of the industry? Is it their connection to other influencers? Does location have anything to do with their impact on others? A rule of thumb is to find people that tweet articles about your industry with between 500-5,000 followers and over 5,000 tweets. This tells you they are experienced with a good platform.

Use hashtags to find content

Hashtags are keywords that can be categorized on Twitter. If you want to follow a conversation string on Twitter about job search you can find these conversations by using the hashtag #jobsearch. The more specific the hashtag, the easier it will be to drill down to specific topics that you can follow, and contribute to.

Start tweeting

Start a real conversation or chime in to one that is already in motion. Knowing you need to keep each tweet to 140 characters or below keeps the conversation succinct. It is okay to ask for tips or advice. For example, “Can I get your opinion on this?” Company executives want to know how you think, how you solve problems, and what you would do in certain situations. Tweets can reveal some of your thought process to them and may position you as a great candidate for their job opening.

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Chapman is a certified professional resume writer whose career is deep-rooted in the careers industry. As a visible member of her profession, she has been involved with numerous industry organizations. Professional credentials include recognition as a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Authorized Behavioral Strategist (DISC Behavioral Assessment), Certified Professional Resume Writer Credentialing Authority, and career/resume book contributor.