Aspiring and professional journalists may spend countless hours fine-tuning their resumes and portfolios of work samples, but too often neglect their "twesumes," or Twitter bios.
When they do, they miss an opportunity to be more easily found online by potential employers, sources and other contacts.
In a recent Poynter Online post by veteran reporter Herbert Lowe offered this advice for getting the most out of the 160 characters that make up the Twitter bio:
Start with the basics
First things first: tell people who you are and what you do. "Students and graduates should definitely include your college or university; your major and year in school; your leadership roles and past successes, on campus and elsewhere; and your career aspiration," Lowe writes.
Show off your writing
The Associated Press Stylebook (or the style guide your news organization follows) should govern every piece of writing you make public, no matter how small. "Remember the adage about doing what’s right even when no one’s looking? Well, demonstrating good writing in short bursts helps prove you take it seriously," Lowe advises.
Always consider your audience
Be professional for potential recruiters. Show personality. And use all of the 160 characters available. "Don’t stop at 135 just because you have cited all the basics. It’s OK to list or note an acceptable hobby or passion at the end," Lowe writes.
Don’t distract from the goal
Don't get too creative with your photo and Twitter handle, Lowe says. Avoid pictures that could detract from your professionalism. He advises using your first and last name in your handle if possible.
Show people where to find your work
Link to a personal website, portfolio or LinkedIn page, preferably in the space for a link provided below the bio.
Keep it updated
Make sure your bio reflects the most up-to-date version of yourself--hobbies and passions included.
Poynter Online, IJNet’s partner and the website of the Poynter Institute, is a school serving journalism and democracy for more than 35 years. Poynter offers news and training that fits any schedule, with individual coaching, in-person seminars, online courses, webinars and more.
Photo courtesy of Rosaura Ochoa, CC-licensed on Flickr.