Build your network for an internship or job in 140 characters

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I got my internship this summer because of a #TBT tweet. Well, it’s a little bit of a longer story, but Twitter eventually landed me this summer’s internship.

It all started with a simple “Throwback Thursday,” tweet with an anchor at the TV station. That lead to a conversation on Twitter, then an in-person conversation, an interview and finally an offer.

Twitter Bird Sketch by: Shawn Campbell (CREATIVE COMMONS)

I find Twitter has provided me with many opportunities of building my professional connections.

  • Personal — these people use it to communicate with friends, talk about their weekend plans, sometimes retweet links and post photos.
  • Fangirls/boys — these people are obsessed with getting noticed by some celebrity or internet star. Nothing wrong with this, it’s just a different type of connections.
  • Professional — for these people, it’s about building their personal brand. tweets mostly include links, shameless self-promotion and engagement.

I find myself in the third category. For me, Twitter is my public face. I try to post about the brands I represent, links to my work, links to work by the people I admire and stories about the industry I am in. Being professional on Twitter is also about interacting and building connections.

I put together a list of some of the people I believe use Twitter best professionally (many, but not all are in journalism).

So this summer — on a day off from classes, an internship or a summer job — I recommend spending a day at Starbucks and building your social networks to fit in this third category.

There is certainly nothing wrong with using Twitter for other purposes, but I find it can be extremely helpful in building your connections to have a strong, professional Twitter account.

Obviously, the first step — make sure you are tweeting professionally. That doesn’t mean you can’t interact with friends. It just means, if it is something you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see, it probably shouldn’t end up in a tweet.

Post meaningful content. I love finding stories and sharing them with my followers. It’s hard (and I struggle with this), but add some color to the tweets. There should be a voice to the tweets, not just the headline. Also, don’t steal. It’s super easy to attribute tweets and by tagging someone, it could get you noticed.

Check your profile picture. Don’t use a selfie, ask a friend to take your iPhone and shoot a nice picture outside or in good lighting. It doesn’t have to be a professional headshot.

I also think it’s good to spend a few minutes on your bio. It’s short, but you want it to be a good representation of YOU. Remember when Hillary Clinton joined Twitter? That bio was one of the most talked about 160 characters (yes, you get a little more space in the bio than a tweet).

Then start using that search bar. Find brands you want to intern or work at. Follow the company, search for their HR departments or recruitment teams. Notice who the department follows or look some of their Twitter lists. This can be a good place to find employees or recruiters you could gain a connection with.

Follow and interact with these new connections. Retweet their content or introduce yourself in 140 characters.

I am not saying I have this down to a science, but I have seen people use Twitter to get jobs. Nothing will replace face-to-face networking, but using digital tools like Twitter can open up a whole new world in networking.

I love finding people who use Twitter in unique and effective ways. Share some of your favorite followers or your profile by tweeting me!

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