What are some ways I can use social networks to find a new job or advance my career?

In the advent of social networking, there are new mediums to help in job searching or bolstering your connections.

In the advent of social networking, there are new mediums to help in job searching or bolstering your connections.

Web sites such as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Plaxo are great for reconnecting with ex-colleagues and classmates, while also keeping you abreast of industry goings-on and opportunities. Once you connect with people, you can see when their birthdays are and send them cards or learn when they've been promoted or found a new job and congratulate them.

Keep your profile as professional as possible. Many recruiters use these networks to see your recommendations, your connections (if you haven't hidden them), and your activities. Sometimes job candidates are turned down because of things they reveal through a social network, such as an inappropriate Facebook profile photo.

If things like this show up in a Google search, this can affect an employer's hiring decision because clients and colleagues could find it offensive as well. So it's important to be savvy, but enjoy social networking.

Cathleen Graham is SVP of global HR and recruiting at Ruder Finn.

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