01/19/2012 06:16 pm ET Updated Mar 20, 2012

Job Hunting Tips From Expert Christine Hassler, Including How to Use Social Media

Before Christmas, I   awrote a post on my blog, The Recessionista, about tips for buying professional attire for job hunters. Within the text of that post on The Recessionista, we ran a contest offering winners the chance to get their job hunting questions answered by  Gen Y expert Christine Hassler.

In today's tough economy everyone can always use some tips about how to best position themselves for employment.  It's not just new college graduates that need help and advice.  Seasoned professionals need help too, especially as the way we look for jobs has changed. In the era of social media, where there are weekly Tweet-ups like #Jobhunt chat, many job hunters are networking and job hunting in the new social world using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to assist them. Since social media is new to many people, it's no surprise that our readers and thousands of job hunters are looking for answers. Hundreds of questions were submitted. I've selected two excellent questions submitted by readers of The Recessionista, one a traditional job hunter's question, and one question about how to best use social media to job hunt and to publish, since social media and returning to work after an absence were questions asked by many readers. The answers by Christine Hassler offer some great tips.

Question #1 from contest winner Ellen: "On the subject of returning to the job market after an absence -- how best to describe what you were doing while gone?"

A. Christine Hassler: The truth! Most people have a great reason why they were out of the market. The most important thing is that you believe that it was a good thing and something that in someway enhanced your professional life or personal life (and when our personal life is better we naturally are better employees because we are happier and less distracted at work). The more concerned you are about it, the more others will be. So tell the truth, talk about what you learned and how excited you are to return to work. Keep directing the conversation in the interview forward rather than rehashing the past.

Question #2 from from reader Amber: "How do you keep your social media profiles such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter ideal for when employers search for your name online?"

A. Christine Hassler: I recommend having at least one social networking outlet that can be exclusively for your personal use that is not under the same name that is on your resume.  Use that as a place for pictures, updates about what you are doing in your personal life, and a way to connect with friends. Keep your searchable SM sites very professional. Check all your pictures, post quotes and links to articles that are relevant to your profession. Think of social media as another version of your resume.

Thanks to Christine for so thoughtfully answering these questions. I have some extra pieces of advice for job hunters. First, join job hunting networks via Facebook, LinkedIn or Meet-up that may help you connect with employers. Second, if social networking is part of your job search or your life, don't post anything publicly that you wouldn't want your future employee to see. Remember the story of a young job hunter just offered a job by Cisco who tweeted that he wasn't sure if he should take it? Well, it wasn't long before Cisco manager read that Tweet and responded. Here's how that dialogue went:

"Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work."

"Who is the hiring manager. I'm sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web," tweeted back Tim Levad, a "channel partner advocate" for Cisco Alert.

Ouch! I don't know if the hapless Tweeter ever made it to Cisco, but he committed corporate suicide before ever starting the job. I'll always remember what Elizabeth Taylor said about Twitter in Harper's Bazaar last year, because I think she really understood how to use Twitter for networking in the public fishbowl of the Internet. After all, she had every extensive public relations training since she was a child star. It's no surprise that she got social media. "I love the idea of real feedback and a two-way street, which is very, very modern. But sometimes I think we know too much... So, like all things, it is to be used with care!" said Dame Elizabeth.

Do you use social media to connect with others or follow Twitter IDs, LinkedIn groups or Meet-up groups that share job information? Social media is another version of your resume, your brand and ultimately you. So remember, first impressions count :)