So you’ve started your job search and someone told you to “get on Twitter” and start “tweeting,” but all you see is your precious time going down the drain…or something like that…?

Elevator Speech for Twitter

Maybe you have heard of the “elevator speech,” that 2-minute or less prepared (but not too stiff) speech that job seekers are supposed to have at the ready when conducting face-to-face or over-the-phone networking? You know, that moment when someone goes, “so tell us what you’re looking for”? It usually goes something like this:

“I’m Joe Schmoe, a PMP with 10 years of management experience in the financial services arena, etc., etc., etc., and I am now looking for a new opportunity in the north Atlanta area…”

The premise behind an elevator speech is that by properly articulating your background and your desired position, you will have a much more effective outcome; i.e., listeners will know who you are, what you bring to the table, and where it is you are looking to go.

And believe me…the job seekers who do this well do see good results.

With the onslaught of Twitter, particularly its widespread appeal for job seekers lately, many of whom are taking advantage of resources like @JobAngels, the elevator speech now needs to evolve into the 140-character or less world. In other words, it needs to go from a short speech to a pitch.

Welcome to the Twitterverse

I’ve spent the last few years getting to know job seekers across Twitter, and the main issue that I see a lot of them struggling with (besides trying to figure out just exactly what Twitter is in the first place) is how to communicate what they need. There’s no doubt that they are going crazy over using the #jobangels or #hirefriday hashtags, but they aren’t exactly sure how to make it work for them.

So here are a few pointers:

1. Be as specific as possible. At NoddlePlace, we love to offer up resources to job seekers that we come across on @JobAngels and elsewhere, but all too often, these are the tweets we see:

“I need a job. Please help. #jobangels”

“Luv 2 find job in LA. Why isn’t anyone helping me? I tweeted this out yesterday. No responses. #jobangels”

“Operations manager looking for work. #jobangels”

“Done with morning jog. Now I need a job! #JobAngels”

At least the third option gives some indication of what the person is looking for as opposed to the first two. The problem is none of them help to identify the best resources out there for that individual. At best, all I can respond with is some vague “try this and try that.”

It would be more helpful if a tweet went something like this:

“Program manager, Denver (OK to relo to west coast), w/10 yrs of manufacturing & IT exp. PMP, ITIL, Six Sigma. #jobangels, #job, #jobseeker”

Now I know something about this person, and I can think of resources and people I might know that might be useful, really useful. Plus, I can engage in some kind of conversation with that person.

2. Be careful what you abbreviate. Abbreviating is the name of the game on Twitter. We all know that. But you need to remember that not everyone is following @jobangels and these other feeds constantly. Instead, recruiters and hiring pros conduct searches using various Twitter applications. So you want to consider how they might conduct a search for someone with your background.

In the case above, you will notice that the main details like “program manager,” “Denver,” “IT,” “manufacturing,” etc. are all spelled out. Of course, if something is a common abbreviation like “LA” or a two-letter state abbreviation, it would be OK to use.

3. Think before you tweet. Just give yourself a moment (or several) and consider what you are conveying about yourself. Open a Word document and type it out there first. Check to see how many characters your tweet is, what you are saying, and whether it accurately portrays (as much as 140 characters can) what you need.

Also, remember that although Twitter is a social site, it is also full of professionals. And if you want them to help you, you need to present yourself as one.

4. Set proper expectations. Furthermore, if you want people to give you a recruiter name or a company name, state that if you can. If you want them to tell you about Twitter resources, state that if you can. I know, I know, you just want a job. But remember, @JobAngels and Twitter in general, really, is a lot like making a cold call. The first call is an introduction. The second call is a follow-up to gather more info. The third call is a reminder that you are out there. The fourth call is a “thanks” for what you’ve found out so far. And the fifth call is likely when you push for the actual sale.

Overall, just remember that you are asking people to reach out and help you. And believe me, there are a lot of people on Twitter who want to do that, but you need to understand also that it is a process. People need to know (1) what you want, (2) how they can best guide you, and (3) most importantly, that you are a professional just like them and are grateful for whatever guidance they can give.

So get your elevator speeches ready, but don’t forget about your Twitter pitch in the meantime. Who knew you would one day have to scale your resume down to 140 characters or less?