If there's any small solace when starting a job search in this recession, it's the proliferation of digital technology to help you re-enter the working world.
Web sites like Indeed.com and LinkedIn.com have multiplied the number of job openings you can track and the professional contacts you can make. E-mail and smart phones make it easier to pitch yourself and set up appointments.
But think twice before picking up that BlackBerry and thumb-typing a message to the hiring manager whose e-mail address you so slyly uncovered online. In the end, landing the right job hinges on old-world skills.
"The electronic piece usually just gets your foot in the door," said Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology, a tech industry recruiting division of Menlo Park-based staffing consultant Robert Half International.
"But you still have to present yourself well face-to-face in an interview, and you have to have good references," he said. "I think some job candidates lose sight of that because of all the technology options and capabilities that get your name out there."
Willmer and Kate Wendleton, president of The Five O'Clock Club, a New York-based career counseling company, advise that job seekers -- especially the young and tech-savvy -- frequently misuse electronic gadgets and the Web and run roughshod over professional etiquette.
Some of their advice:
Avoid e-mail blasts: Resist the temptation to respond to each online job listing in your field, and focus on those that fit the best. If you can use personal contacts to learn about an opening that's not widely publicized, your chances of landing the job increase because you've got fewer rivals.
Embrace snail mail: In your first contact with a prospective employer, you're unlikely to stand out if you join the legions of job seekers sending "hire me" pitches via e-mail with resumes attached. E-mails also are too easy for a hiring manager to delete. With snail mail, you control the appearance of your carefully crafted cover letter and resume.
Get personal: If you resort to e-mail pitches, make them personal. If you're introducing yourself to a hiring manager you've identified via a professional colleague, type that colleague's name in the e-mail's subject line and succinctly explain the link so the manager is less likely to hit delete.
Avoid follow-up foibles: If you land an interview, pay attention if the hiring manager specifies how to make any follow-up contacts.
Observe boundaries: Even if you managed to track down a hiring manager's cell phone number, don't call it unless given permission.
Stick with land lines: For any phone contact with a prospective employer, try to use a land line. With cell phones, there's too great a risk that you'll get a spotty connection, lose it altogether, or end up with excessive background noise.
Network the smart way: If you identify a hiring manager or other professional you'd like to connect with on an online networking site, don't send an electronic invitation without explaining why you want to get in touch.
Manage your digital footprint: Be judicious about what you post on social networking sites such as Facebook, and limit access to friends and family if it's something you wouldn't want an employer to see.
Original Article - http://www.pe.com/business/local/stories/PE_Biz_S_jobhunt01.2b6e20e.html