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The economy is starting to pick up, but to the unemployed, a job is still a precious commodity. Job-seekers are still in need of creative and original ways to search for and apply to open positions within their field of expertise. Social media offers several channels for connecting with people and acquiring information, but using it to gain new employment.

In the world of online social media, the most important verb is connect.Connecting with others, connecting colleagues with each other, and asking to be connected to others’ connections is key to developing a true and effective social network.

Rule #1: Connect with everyone. Now, when I say everyone, I don’t mean every Twitter ID and facebook fanpage should get your click. I mean that you shouldn’t only connect with a group of people that you already know. That defeats the purpose of social media networking. Connect with people you vaguely know, have had some contact with, or who are connected to some of your closer colleagues. When you’re looking for a job, anyone might have the opportunity to recommend you for a position, and you never know who has insight into a position which might be about to open up. Making those connections ensures that your profile is part of the inner circle when work comes available.

Rule #2: Connect others. LinkedIn is an incredibly useful tool for connecting one colleague or client to another, if you think that they’d be effective in working with each other or if you see opportunity for one with the other. Not only will that help your friends and clients, but it also keeps you in the forefront of their minds if the connection works out well. They’ll think of you first when the next opportunity shows itself.

Rule #3:Show signs of life.A huge part of social media – and of the social media job search by extension – is simply letting other people know that you’re still active, that you are still highly motivated and still looking for a company that you can help with your skill set and expertise.Every time you tweet, post on LinkedIn, or write on a fanpage’s wall, it shows up on the homepages of everyone with whom you’re connected.Your name – your personal brand – is top of mind for each of your connections.

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