So you’ve appealed to your network and made a habit of checking job boards each morning, but still...no gigs.

Sound familiar? It might be time to try something a little different.

Twitter is an invaluable tool for communicating with companies and individuals you don’t already know and showcasing your talents, interests, and opinions. Also, because composing a tweet is much simpler than actually picking up the phone, you’re more likely to get a response from major thought leaders, organizations and recruiters.

So how can we use Twitter to help us find gigs? Follow these simple steps and you’ll be tweeting your way to a gig in no time:

Use TweetDeck (or something like it)
If you’re new to Twitter, you don’t want to make the mistake of getting started without the proper equipment. Of course, you’re going to need to go to the Twitter website and sign up, but from there you want to go to the TweetDeck site and log into your Twitter account from there. You can also download the app onto your tablet or computer for easier access.

TweetDeck allows you to customize your Twitter experience. You can create custom timelines and filtered searches, monitor multiple accounts, create alerts, and schedule tweets for the future. Believe me, once you get on TweetDeck, you won’t be going back.

*There are alternatives to TweetDeck if you’d like to take a look.

Make 2 Timelines
Now that you’re on TweetDeck, you should make 2 specific timelines for yourself. Keep in mind, the accounts that you include on each of these timelines will be notified that you’ve included them on a specific list, so be sure to pick appropriate titles for each:

  • The Industry List: The first list you make should include all of the individuals and organizations that comprise your industry or field (or the one you’re looking to get into). Use this list to stay up to date on the most recent events in that field. Not only is this good for your professional growth, but you’ll also impress potential clients when you’re able to show them how up-to-date you are on the latest happenings in your industry.
  • The “Favorite Organizations” (AKA Jobs You Want List): This second timeline should be made up of those specific organizations or clients that you’d like to be working for. This list will allow you to keep up on these organization’s and client’s most recent events and projects, but more importantly, if they post a job opening, you’ll be the first to know about it. Assuming they post their job openings themselves, you’ll be the first to know about them.

****Just to reiterate, they are going to see the title of your list, so make sure you name it something vague.

Develop your Twitter-self
This is Twitter, it’s not LinkedIn. That being the case, it’s ok to use Twitter in a more casual fashion. So yeah, let your hair down, show your personality and sense of humor - don’t be too stuffy or boring. At the same time, keep in mind that people in and out of your field will be paying attention, particularly if they’re interested in using your services.

Tweet, retweet, and join the conversation
If you’re looking to find a job on Twitter, you’ll need to begin actively engaging with those in your industry. When people look at your profile, they should see that you’re interested and engaged in your industry and your network. At least once a day, you should do one or more of the following:

  • Tweet articles that you think are interesting, along with your opinion on it. This will give your followers the sense that you’re deeply interested in the issues at hand and have taken the time to form your own opinions.
  • Retweet anything that you find interesting from thought leaders and leading organizations in your industry.
  • Tweet about hot topics in your field and engage with industry leaders. Bonus points if you include any hashtags that people in your field are using (but don’t overdo it).
  • Retweet or favorite post from clients you’re interested in landing. You’d be surprised how many people pay attention to these stats -- and getting your name in front of their faces can’t hurt.

If you’re new to Twitter, you’ll have to give yourself a bit of time to establish a presence, so have a bit of patience! Happy tweeting, freelancers!

Have you used Twitter to find gigs? What worked and what didn’t?