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Do you think of Twitter like this badge describes – as a pointless exercise? It may be time to rethink! Have you ever considered the skills you use to leverage Twitter well? It is not rocket science, but it does require key abilities, and not everyone has them.

Sending tweets that inspire people to read, retweet and reply requires an ability to communicate in the short form. It turns out this may be much more valuable than you might have realized!

Now, a new study out of the U.K. is saying that Twitter users are more likely to get interviews!

MyJobGroup.co.uk (www.MyJobGroup.co.uk), which boasts over 300 regional job sites across the UK analyzed 500 CVs from UK-based jobseekers and found a lot of overlap and repetition between them:

One-third (37%) used exactly the same opening phrase; while the three most popular first-line words are ‘experience’ (27.1%), ‘skills’ (23.2%) and, ironically, ‘individual’ (22.6%).

The company believes job seekers who use Twitter are more likely to be shortlisted because they write interesting, eye-catching and succinct CV summaries which appeals to recruiters.

TheNextWeb reported on this study:

Professor Cary Cooper CBE, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University Management School agrees with the study, which was carried out by analyzing 500 UK CVs.  He said: “When reviewing CVs for the first time, employers may only ever see candidates’ short summaries, so a job seeker with a standard, dull or uninteresting personal synopsis is less likely to be shortlisted.”

Is it Twitter use that trains people to write more succinctly, or does Twitter actually attract better writers in the first place? Professor Cooper seems to think the latter is true.

“Candidates who are innovative and novel in their use of language and identify themselves in a non-formulaic way are more likely to be people who use Twitter, or have their own blog. (Their) CV summary is more likely to be snappy, interesting and, ultimately, attention-grabbing.

“Twitter users more readily think about, and use, clever key words and they’re probably more expressive in an abridged style – the art of ‘getting to the point’ is not lost on people who Tweet.”

Maybe the question is a “which comes first, the chicken or the egg?” Do strong communicators naturally tend to use Twitter, or does using Twitter actually help hone those all important short-form communication skills? I think it is a little of both. There is no doubt that practice helps improve your skills in any arena. Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers asserts that you need 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert.

Clearly, 10,000 hours of Twitter is a lot more than anyone would ever admit to having! However, the point that practicing a skill (in this case, identifying key words, focusing on getting across a message quickly, clearly and in few words) is important for job seekers. You may have heard the famous quote by Mark Twain, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” It takes more time – and more skill – to write something short!

David Zinger lists three of Gladwell’s key elements of success:

1. Working harder than your peers.

2. Seeing things that others can’t see.

3. Finding or creating a good fit between your cultural legacy and what you choose to explore.

All of these factors impact peoples’ entree into social media. Let’s face it – using Twitter well (or having a blog), or even leveraging LinkedIn (a well known and accepted professional network) takes time and extra effort. Practicing being succinct and communicating in the short form (as written about in the book 140 Characters: A Style Guide for the Short Form by Dom Sagolla) is important and useful in today’s “tell it to me now, tell it to me fast” world of sound bytes and text messages.

It does not surprise me that people who engage on Twitter and social media are more likely to get interviews. How about you?

Some posts to help you get started:

Twitter chats can help you find a job.

Indeed.com research shows Twitter is the fastest-growing word on job boards.

Twitter isn’t second nature for everyone.

LinkedIn helps you find friends on Twitter.

Use Twitter to help you find a job.

Why use Twitter?

What Twitter applications should you use for your job hunt?

picture via jmilles

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  • Insightful posting. Your post made me wonder about the twitter effect on cover letters. I have long believed electronic cover letters should now be more like emails, concise; but was wondering if the research drew a connection.?

    • David – If you follow the link to the pres release about the study, it focuses mostly on the resume and words used, etc. I agree that being succinct and direct and choosing your words carefully is more and more important.

  • Miriam,

    Great post on Twitter and how job seekers are using it! I wrote a recent post on Twitter that you might find interesting. It’s called “Tackling Twitter”. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/cZOlLi. I’d love to know your thoughts on the post.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Kirk – Thanks, and thanks for the tweet as well! I always enjoy reading posts about Twitter and will be sure to visit your blog. Thanks for your comment!

  • I really liked this article. I was expecting some sort of networking reasons for twitter users being more likely to land a position, but this was an interesting take. Being very efficient and illustrative with a short amount of words will definitely help a job seeker out on a cover letter, or any other business communication.

    I think that people who have this trait of being able to write “to the point” are probably the ones who stick with twitter and gain a following. People who cannot do this probably find it harder to connect with people on twitter and gain a reach.

    • Kyle – I agree! In general, people who have the ability to figure out something that is not totally intuitive (such as Twitter) and can stick with it are much more likely to succeed in any of their plans. Thanks for your comment!

  • Love the articles Miriam , hope it helps people jobs in sales

 

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