How to use Twitter to land your dream conservation job
If you’re using social media in your quest for a job in conservation, don’t overlook the power of Twitter. Conservation Careers Blogger Charlotte Rixon suggests the following seven steps to unlock its potential.
One: Look the part
Think of your Twitter account as an online business card. It should represent you as a professional and knowledgeable individual, reflect your interests and areas of expertise, and snag the attention of potential employers.
Firstly, it’s a good idea to make your Twitter handle your name, choose a great photo and background image that is relevant to what you want to do, and make sure your description gives a good overview of your interests, experience and values.
Two: Follow the right people
Once you’re happy with your profile, start following companies and institutions that you would like to work for, as this will help you stay abreast of their current priorities and campaigns. Follow the employees too, so you can get an insight into what it’s like working there and sniff out possible job opportunities.
Be aware that some organisations have job specific Twitter handles and make sure you follow them. For example, WWF uses @WWF_Jobs, the Forestry Commission uses @ForestryCareers and the British Ecological Society uses @BES_careers.
To catch all job openings as they arise, trawl through Twitter to find accounts that tweet conservation job alerts such as @GJ_Environment, @ecojobsearch, @ConservationJob, @CountrysideJobs and, of course, @ConservCareers!
Three: Put hashtags to work
Twitter hashtags are a useful tool for homing in on job listings. You could use general ones, such as #jobsearch or #recruiting, as well as more specific ones like #conservationjobs, #wildlifejobs, #greenjobs or #outdoorjobs.
You can also use hashtags to join Twitter chats or follow industry events, such as lectures at The Royal Geographical Society or the IARU Sustainability Science Congress. If you follow the live Twitterfeed, it will be as if you are attending even if you’re on the other side of the world.
For general career advice it may be worth taking part in job related twitter chats through hashtags like #careerchat or #hirefriday.
Four: Get organised
Once you’re following a wide range of employers and actively searching for jobs, it’s time to organise your twitterstream to prevent your ideal job from slipping past. Twitter lists are a simple way of allowing you to monitor different networks in separate streams. For example, you could create a list for wildlife organisations, another list for job alerts and one more for climate change news.
To take further control, try using nifty apps like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite that allow you to keep track of lists, searches and activity. With Tweetdeck you can build customised timelines and filter search results, while Hootsuite brings all your social media accounts together – perfect if your job search spans Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
There are also alert tools available like TweetBeep, which send you an email every time a particular word is mentioned in a tweet.
Five: Join the conversation
Your twitterstream should cry out to potential employers that you are an enthusiastic, well-informed individual with interesting views who is dedicated to conservation.
To do this, you need to build a following of like-minded people who share your passions and actively engage with them. Don’t just retweet; add your own comments to others’ tweets and initiate discussions and debates. Read widely and tweet links to interesting and relevant articles you’ve read. Try to tweet every day if you can.
If you apply for a job through Twitter, the employer is going to want to look at your Twitterfeed and you are going to want them to like what they see.
Six: Promote yourself (but not too much)
Twitter can be an excellent medium for subtle self-promotion. For example, if you are involved in an interesting conservation project you could tweet regular updates, or if you write a wildlife blog you could use Twitter to drive traffic towards it.
Include your blog URL or your LinkedIn page as your website on your Twitter profile and tweet every time you add a new post. Try to say something a bit more imaginative than ‘here’s my new blog post’, such as an intriguing statistic or controversial remark to lure followers in.
Be careful not to overuse Twitter for self-promotion or you could end up sounding self-obsessed. But if you mention your peers in your tweets, and tweet links to interesting work or blogs they have done, they will probably return the favour.
Seven: Grow your contacts
Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, where you are supposed to know people in real life before connecting, you can use Twitter to network with people you’ve never met. So long as you are both following each other, you can send people a direct message (DM), which won’t show up in your Twitterstream.
DMs can be used to get insider knowledge about companies or internships, to find experts to interview for your blog or, if you’re feeling very bold, to let recruiters know that you are in the market for work. It’s advisable to develop a rapport with people by exchanging a few tweets first, and don’t bombard them with messages: just one will do.
Through following these steps, and with a bit of luck, job opportunities may arise naturally without you even having to ask.
Have you used Twitter to find jobs or internships in conservation and how did you do it? Please leave your comments below.
About the Author
This post was written by Conservation Careers Blogger Charlotte Rixon. Charlotte is a freelance journalist and writer based in London, who specialises in wildlife, conservation, travel, gardening and all things green and outdoorsy. She has a particular passion for trees and woodland and a complicated relationship with urban foxes.