Put Social Media to Good Use

In this era of rapidly changing technology, take time to make sure you're a fluent user. "[Social media] is a marketing plan for yourself," Meg says. "Ask yourself, 'How am I going to get out there?'"

Start by using job boards such as Monster, HotJobs and CareerBuilder as search engines to see what opportunities are available and where your experiences might fit. Often, she says, you can't reply to the job listings without becoming a member. But, for all you semibroke college grads, joining these sites is free.

For safe social networking, Meg says to make an e-mail address solely for your job search. Providing your professional information should not be a window into your personal life, so be protective of your identity. You can follow up with more contact information after you've spoken to an actual human being.

Meg also suggests creating LinkedIn and Plaxo accounts so your résumé is available to a wide professional audience. In some fields, such as sales, the ability to effectively use these social networking tools can even be a marketable skill.

However, Ross says you need to be careful of how you network on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Steer clear of posting anything that portrays you in a negative light. "A prospective employer seeing choices you made in college can be a big hindrance in you getting a job," he says.

In plain English: Take down any and all inappropriate pictures immediately. You know what drunk looks like, and so does your employer.

Use Personal Connections

If you haven't already, explore your social circle and use personal relationships as a marketing tool. Ross says there's no real downside to letting "friends of friends and colleagues of colleagues" know you're looking for employment.

However, avoid putting your friends and family in an uncomfortable position. "The personal network is a great place to start," Ross says, "so long as it's done in a tactful manner."


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