Using Twitter ‘@mention’ to Find a Job

Published: Oct 07, 2013

By Rich DeMatteo


Years ago, people would joke about how small the world was.  They’d bump into someone they grew up with at a gas station on the other side of the country.  One of them would eventually laugh and say, “It really is a small world, isn’t it?”   No, actually the world is gigantic and it really only felt small in the most random instances.

Now that we have social media channels, we can truly say that the world is small. When something overwhelmingly negative or positive happens in our world, the information finds us.  Rather than wait hours to hear about it on television, social channels like Twitter sends that information onto our screens.  Whether we want it or not, the news finds us.  And just like news, it’s also just as easy to connect, learn from, and communicate with people worlds away.

What does this mean for job seekers?

As a job seeker with a Twitter account, you have the potential to connect with anyone that also uses the channel.  Luckily for you, more company recruiters and HR professionals join Twitter every day, giving you the power to connect with them.

One of the greatest gifts of Twitter is the ‘@mention’.

What is an @mention?

An @mention is way for a user on Twitter to send a Tweet (message) to another user.  These messages are public and can be seen by other Twitter users.  An @mention tags the targeted account, so that the user is notified of the tweet.  How about an example?

My twitter username is @CornOnTheJob.  It’s important to note that Twitter usernames have the ‘@’ symbol at the very beginning.  So, if a job seeker were to want to @mention me, they may say something like this:

“Hey @CornOnTheJob, is it OK if I arrive to an interview 25-30 minutes early and wait in the lobby?”

Because they used my Twitter name, @CornOnTheJob, in the tweet, when I go to search my @mentions, I’ll find their tweet and decide if I want to message back.  I almost always do, and so do others.

How to Develop an @mention Strategy

Step 1:  Just for a second, pretend we’re not talking about Twitter.  You should always have a list of target companies and industries you’d like to work in.  Always.  Before doing anything, ensure you have a list of at least 10 companies and industries.

Step 2:  Once you’ve identified your target companies, you’ll now spend time seeking out what the company Twitter account is and if possible, the Twitter account for the recruiter at that company.  To find the specific recruiter, you can search on Linkedin to see who works at the company in recruiting or HR.

Step 3:  Create a spreadsheet to write out and organize the entire list of target Twitter accounts.  Make sure to create one column for “date sent” which would be the date you sent @mentions to the target Twitter handle.

Step 4:  Go to the Twitter pages for each target account and make sure you’re following them.  When you follow them, you’ll be able to receive their information and catch up on what they are tweeting.  This part is important.

Step 5:  Send an @mention tweet to each targeted Twitter account once or twice per week, more if they engage back.  While the goal is for them to engage back with you, don’t be discouraged if they don’t respond.  People get caught up if the receive a lot of tweets and even if they don’t respond, you’re being seen.

Step 6:  Once you’ve build up a connection, feel free to directly ask to catch up on the phone or find out about that position you’ve had your eye on.

How to Engage the Right Way?

This last part is critical.  You don’t want to start off by sending @mentions that say, “Hey @RecruiterPerson, are you hiring?  Hire me, please!!!”.  It’ll drive them away.  Instead, you can just comment on their tweets, ask general questions about them, or respond to questions they post online.  One great strategy is to send them an @mention after they’ve posted an open job link on Twitter.  Tell them that you’re going to ask friends if anyone is looking and they’ll most likely thank you and will appreciate it if you really do send anyone their way.

One last thing – your list of target accounts should always be growing.  Find out who the thought leaders are in your industry and try to connect with them.  While they may not be the folks who hire, being on their good side will result in only positive for you.

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