People suggest that you use Facebook in job search. You can, with caution.  For Facebook is a double-edged sword, in my opinion.

Most people use Facebook for personal connections – old high school and college buddies, far-flung family and friends, etc.  That makes it a great place to do personal networking – telling your network that you are looking for your “right fit” job.  Periodically post what you’re looking for, updates on your job search, and ask for specific help (“does anyone know someone who works at this target company?”).

Because it’s such a personal networking site, I believe the best kind of Facebook profile is a private one, where you are circumspect about what you put up. There are true stories of people who didn’t get jobs because of Facebook content, and there is growing concern that advertisers and enterprising people can get to your Facebook profile despite privacy settings. So make sure you would be proud to show your boss anything that is on Facebook.  Delete possibly damaging posts and pictures. Start an account that is purely personal under a nickname if you must put up random, odd, or questionable things.

I’m aware that there are a lot of entrepreneurs and companies who are using Facebook to promote their businesses, using the business pages now available on Facebook.  If you start your own business page, keep in mind that it is linked to your personal account, which makes it difficult to separate business and personal.

Google. In addition to using Google to find job search help and job boards for your profession and industry, check out your Google Profile.

This emerging forum is gaining traction as Google moves farther into Facebook and Twitter-like applications (like Friend Connect and Buzz).

You need to control what is in your Google profile, because that profile will show up when any employer does a Google search for your name. I say “when” an employer does that search because they will do it as a part of their search process. It’s quick, easy, costs no money, and captures a ton of information about you very quickly. They may do it before deciding to interview you or after they’ve seen you in person, as a reference check.

Google yourself and see what comes up. If you have a Google account, you might see at the bottom of the page your name and a profile link. Click on that and you can see what is in your profile and you can edit it.  You also can search for and see what comes up. If you don’t have a Google account, you might want to get one so you can create a profile.