Tips for Social Networking Your Way Into an Encore Career

In a tough economy – or any economy, for that matter – tapping your network is always essential for getting on the inside track to job openings. Social networking is the ideal way to meet people online and make connections, both personal and professional, and is the “go-to place” to get in on the action.

Since the economic meltdown, LinkedIn, the best-known site for connecting those with jobs and those looking for work, has been adding a million new members every two weeks. More than 37 million people have signed up worldwide. Twitter and Facebook are other good places to connect with members.

Job seekers and firms seeking employees are flocking to networking sites, says David Lagesse in U.S. News & World Report. He offers some basic “netiquette” rules to help you get started. Read his article, “How to Turn Social Networking Into a Job Offer.”

“Welcome to the new rules of the job hunt,” declares Barbara Kiviat of Time magazine. Gone are the days of simply posting your résumé on CareerBuilder, emailing former colleagues and trolling company websites for open slots. These days, if you're serious about being hired, she recommends putting your computer and PDA to work. Learn how one job hunter found a new position 11 days after being laid off by tapping his social networks. Read “Using Twitter and Facebook to Find a Job.”

New to social networking? AARP’s Bob Skladany offers practical advice to those just starting out about how to use social networking tools, including Twitter, which allows you to follow people in your field. Read “Networking – You’ve Got to Try It.”

To those who think of social networking is as much fun as a visit to the dentist, Amy Fontinelle of says, “Networking isn't really about forcing yourself out the door to attend networking events where you'll present your elevator speech and hand out your business card to as many people as possible. It's about developing genuine relationships with people who will be there for you even when you don't need them.” Read “Four Career Networking Tips That Work.”