How Many Twitter Followers Does it Take to Get a Job?

Your online popularity might be as valuable to your career as a post-grad education. A recent job posting on Best Buy’s Web site prefers candidates with a graduate degree and at least 250 followers on Twitter

By Jennifer Kavur
Fri, July 10, 2009

Computerworld CanadaYour online popularity might be as valuable to your career as a post-grad education. A recent job posting on Best Buy’s Web site prefers candidates with a graduate degree and at least 250 followers on Twitter

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A recent job posting on Best Buy Co Inc.’s Web site for a Senior Manager – Emerging Media Marketing position based out of the company’s corporate headquarters in Richfield, Minn. listed two preferred job qualifications: a graduate degree and 250+ followers on Twitter.

Basic qualifications for the position include a Bachelor’s degree, “two plus years of mobile or social media marketing experience” at the director or strategist level, “four plus years people or resource leadership experience” and “one plus years of active blogging experience."

While organizations put out job descriptions that list social media expertise, Best Buy’s approach is absolutely new, according to Michael O’Connor Clarke, vice president at Thornley Fallis Communications. “This is the first time I’ve seen somebody be as simultaneously direct and oblique as this,” he said.

Clarke speculates the approach is a shorthand way to weed out applications from people who just say they know social networking and those who can provide demonstrated expertise and presence in the space.

“They’re signaling that they want somebody who understands the space well and at least has some established presence in that area. I can’t think of many other ways to signal that … than say you have to have a certain number of followers,” he said.

While Clarke finds it “absolutely fascinating and really rather smart” to include a way of assessing someone’s online presence and Twitter footprint in a job description, one plus years of active blogging experience and 250+ Twitter followers is “not necessarily the best thing to judge on.”

“The advice we give our clients is it’s much more important to look at the quality of engagement levels than pure quantity,” said Clarke.

If you are in marketing, public relations, communications, digital media, the Web world or any related discipline, it’s essential you pay attention to your online footprint, Clarke pointed out. This includes “not just the number of followers you have, but what your online reputation looks like,” he said.

Sean Moffitt, president of Agent Wildfire Strategy & Communications Inc., also supports the concept behind Best Buy’s posting while dismissing the 250+ reference.

“It’s very tough for you to comment, provide expertise and direct the motivations of the company around this type of media without really rolling up your sleeves, so I commend them for actually doing some of the spade work in terms of knowing if their potential candidates are online,” he said.

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