By Daniel Bortz
February 7, 2014

If you want to shine in a competitive workforce, take to Twitter. Nearly 95% of recruiters surveyed by software firm Jobvite used or planned to use social media to find and vet candidates last year.

“But you need a strong social media presence even if you aren’t job seeking,” says Rochester, N.Y., job coach Hannah Morgan, co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.

You can use Twitter to improve your visibility inside and outside your company, and connect yourself with influencers and hiring managers along the way. Whether you’re new to the platform or have tweets under your belt, take these steps to sharpen your networking skills.

Perfect the profile

First impressions matter here too. Upload a professional headshot and use the same one across your social media profiles, says career expert Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself.

Set your name as your handle, or at least include it (like @JaneSmith_CPA) so you’re easily found. Your bio should pack a punch in the allotted 160 characters, Schawbel notes: Include your area of expertise, your level of experience, a hobby (to humanize you), and a link to your LinkedIn page so recruiters can access your résumé.

Follow the right crowd

Twitter gives you a unique opportunity to engage with VIPs you don’t know, says Morgan. Following them opens the door for conversation. Search directories like Twellow and Wefollow for handles of industry hiring managers and influencers, as well as related news sources and firms you might want to work for.

Tweet with value

To be seen as an expert, says Susan Gunelius, CEO of marketing and communications firm KeySplash Creative, you need to establish “social proof”: evidence you know what you’re talking about. Do this by sharing links to news or information relevant to your target audience, adding insights or teasing out a key stat within whatever’s left of the 140 characters.

Jane Smith might write, “Give less to Uncle Sam this year! @MONEY has tips on cutting your 2014 taxes,” then paste a link to the story. Also, participate in conversations started by people you’re following. Aim to tweet three to five times a day.

Pay it forward

Another way to get on the radar of influencers is to re-tweet them — play to their egos by sharing their posts with your followers. (Be sure to include “RT @[person’s handle].”) Morgan says the gesture could have a bigger return if the person tweets back, as that gets your handle seen by his followers. So leave 15 to 30 blank characters to give your new pal space to reply.

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