If you're interested in finding a new IT job, part-time gig, making new friends in your industry or just staying up-to-date with the latest industry news, Twitter presents a wealth of resources. Except perhaps marketing, the IT industry is one of the most represented industries on this social media platform. As well, about 77 percent of Fortune 100 companies have an active presence on Twitter, according to the most recent surveys.
Your Professional Profile
To get the full benefit of Twitter as a resource in your IT career, make sure you fully complete your user profile, including your real name, location, bio and link to a website. If you don't have your own website or profile page, you can link to your LinkedIn profile or any other place where people will be able to find out who you are.
It's also a good idea to add a word or two about any other interests you might have. If you're a coffee addict, love sci-fi, or have a penchant for embroidery, these things will let people get an idea of what you're like outside of work -- an important part of any relationship, including social media connections.
For best results, use a real picture of yourself. People are much more likely to interact with you if they see a face on your profile. If you're not comfortable posting a photo online, or want to stand out as being different, consider a cartoon of yourself, a picture of a pet, or even a picture of your garden. Having no image at all will almost always make people think you are a spammer, or someone who isn't really interested in connecting with people. Images that look like a corporate logo are almost as bad as having no image at all. The intent here is to let people know you're a real person who is approachable, not a bot or a company.
Who to Follow
Fortunately, people working in the tech industry are more likely to be actively using Twitter than those in other lines of work, except perhaps those in marketing.
The best way to start finding people to follow is to use the search function at the top of your home page. If you are looking for people who are post about HTML5, for example, begin by typing "HTML5" in the search field. Twitter will give you a list of recent tweets about the subject, as well as profiles of people who have HTML5 in their description.
When you find someone worth listening to, click the "Follow" button beside their name. Their tweets will immediately be added to the timeline on your home page.
Finding IT Jobs on Twitter
To look for jobs in your field, add the word "job" to your search query. To narrow down the results, add the city you live in. For example, at the time of publication, typing "iOS job" in the Twitter search field returns over 12 jobs posted in the past 2 hours, mixed in with other posts that just happen to use both those words in the same tweet. Typing "iOS gig" returns an additional three jobs posted in the past five hours, with only a couple unrelated tweets mixed in.
Once you have found the keywords that give you the results you're looking for, click the "Gear" icon beside the search field to save your search. You can then come back later to see any new jobs that have been posted without having to do a new search.
Finding the opportunity is just the first step. How you follow up on the job depends on who is posting it. Sometimes the companies post jobs directly. In most cases, a link provides additional details on the position and how to apply. A recent article showed how one IT professional used Twitter to land her dream job by targeting the right employer.
Finding IT Jobs in Your Region
Twitter's advanced search option gives you the ability to filter your search results. To use this, after doing a search, click the "Gear" icon beside the results title at the top of the list. Add the words you want to search for, or the exact phrase. You can also filter out tweets that include words you don't want to see.
When looking for tech jobs, the Places filter is invaluable. To filter the results to tweets that are being sent in your region, type your city in the Places field. By default, this gives you tweets that were sent within 15 miles of that city. While this is probably a good radius for people looking for a good restaurant, anyone looking for a good tech job will probably be willing to have a longer daily commute than that.
To expand your search radius, look for "within%3A15mi" near the end of the URL in the browser address field and change the "15" to a larger number, like 50 or 100. Hit "Enter" and the results will be expanded to the area you specified. This isn't fool-proof, as the Places filter relies on people who have included their location information. However, it's still a good way to find jobs in your area you may have missed otherwise.