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Use social media wisely when job hunting

Q. I prefer to avoid social media. I feel it does more harm than good. The problem is that I have not looked for a job in over 20 years and I think I should start looking. I feel like I may be at a disadvantage without social media. I don’t want to hear about people’s personal business and I don’t want to share mine. What are my options?

A. Much of job hunting does rely, at least in part, on the Internet and social media. You can use job hunting websites without using social media. Most companies list open positions on their websites.

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Social media are a source of job leads. LinkedIn, in particular, has become a powerful job-hunting tool. LinkedIn is considered a professional networking site, where little personal information is shared. It is primarily a tool for establishing professional connections.

Your LinkedIn profile is created by you. So you can include as much or as little personal information as you wish. Some include a photo of dog or a photo against a Patriots banner, but most do not.

Twitter is also a helpful job hunting tool. I have found Twitter to be a mixed bag; some use it for personal communications while others use it strictly for business. Facebook for the most part is used for personal connections, although some companies have Facebook pages.

If you want to focus solely on professional connections, I would consider LinkedIn. You can also join groups related to your career interests. As an example, if you are a registered nurse looking at new opportunities, you can join several groups related to health care, nursing, clinical, pharmaceutical, biotech or medical devices. You can also join groups to connect to people near where you live (South Shore, Boston, Worcester, etc.)

Ask others which social media tools they use for job hunting. Your colleagues will probably share sound advice.

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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton.