Since Twitter’s launch in 2006, it has been emerging as robust job search tool to find opportunities and be found by hiring decision makers.Twitter can help build your online credibility as a candidate and showcase your expertise in an industry or a specific subject area.

Most hiring decision makers are researching candidates online before bringing them in for interviews, so be mindful of how you build your professional presence on Twitter. You may not be aware of this but all of your tweets are permanently indexed by Google.

Here’s how to get started on Twitter and build a solid foundation for your career campaign:

1) Go to www.twitter.com and click “Sign Up” You’ll be asked for your name, a user name (which becomes your Twitter “handle”) and an email address connected to your account.

2) Choose a Twitter handle (up to 20 characters) that reflects your professional persona or even your name — whichever presents you in a positive light. Mine is @Career_Success because it’s an extension of my website: www.career-success-coach.com. Your Twitter handle becomes part of your Twitter URL, like mine is www.twitter.com/career_success.

3) Build your profile at www.twitter.com/settings/profile, where you can upload a professional headshot, provide your location, and list a website (if you have one) or your LinkedIn URL.

4) Write a compelling 160-character bio (last section of the Profile page) that reflects your professional brand. Mine is “The Career Success coach: Helping Executives, Managers and Professionals Find Perfect Career Paths Since 1991.”

5) Use “Twitreshttp://twitres.com/ to display your resume. Simply upload a copy of your resume and it will appear as the background on your Twitter page.

6) Find people and places to follow, such as target companies, recruiters and thought leaders in your industry. Use Twitter’s advanced earch feature (http://search.twitter.com/advanced) to locate company names and inside contacts. One of my clients found a former supervisor on Twitter; he followed him, they connected and he wrote my client a LinkedIn recommendation.

7) Listen carefully for hidden opportunities in your Twitter feed. Hiring managers or other decision makers may mention some unmet needs or possible positions in your industry or target companies. Initiate conversations with people you follow, using the “Message” feature on their Twitter page.

8) Tweet value-added posts (up to 140 characters) that convey your expertise to your network, recruiters and potential employers. You can tweet your own blog posts or links to industry-related articles. Here’s an example tweet from someone in sales: “New sales lead tracking software to replace ACT is here: <article link>”. Use http://bit.ly/ to shorten links.

9) Open a free account with www.TweetMyJOBS.com, to access thousands of targeted jobs matching your account profile. You can also get instant notification of new jobs in your Twitter feed or on your mobile device, and be able to post (and tweet) your resume and profile to numerous recruiters and hiring managers.

10) Go to Job-Hunt.org to get free job postings of employers who recruit through Twitter: www.twitter.com/JobHuntOrg/employers-recruiting. To see what that was like, I signed up for a trial and was amazed at the quality of opportunities offered from companies like Citibank, Hertz and Kaiser-Permanente, to name a few.Of course, no single online platform will ever replace the relationships you’ll build offline. Nevertheless, with so many job seekers and hiring decision makers using Twitter, it certainly makes sense to add it to your job search toolkit.© 2011 Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin, The Career Success Coach. All Rights Reserved. www.career-success-coach.com