By Heather Cabot, for Yahoo! HotJobs
If you're looking for a job after some time away from the world of work, you're not alone. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 2.5 million people were looking to reenter the workforce at the end of 2008.
In the time you've been away from the workplace, caring for your family or enjoying retirement, the networking tools have changed and improved. But according to recruiters and career coaches, the basic strategy to finding a job is still the same -- letting people know you're looking and making a killer impression. Here are five ways use the Web to do just that.
1. Assess Your Digital Footprint
If you're pretty Web-savvy, you've probably been logging on and enjoying the fun social stuff, like Facebook and blogging. If not, skip to Step 2. Now that you're actively looking for employment, you'll want to look hard at what any stranger can find out about you with a few keystrokes. Adjust your privacy settings so your personal profile information is visible only to family and friends. Search your name and see what pops up. Do your best to clean up any blog posts or photos you wouldn't want an employer to see.
2. Develop Your Online Presence
People need to be able to find you online if they're going to hire you. In the virtual world of job hunting, think of your digital profile as your calling card, but even better. Whether it's creating a profile page on a professional networking site like LinkedIn or a short, eye-catching bio on Twitter or launching your own Web site and/or blog featuring your portfolio and professional accomplishments, take advantage of the tools to promote yourself online.
3. It's Still Who You Know
The more things change, the more things stay the same, and that goes for good old networking. With professional networking communities like LinkedIn and BeKnown, you can easily reconnect with former colleagues and capitalize on the connections you already have through virtual introductions to prospective employers. Asking former bosses and coworkers to endorse you will give you added credibility.
"Applicants with more complete profiles, recommendations and connections are getting the highest response rates when applying for jobs," says Krista Canfield, LinkedIn's career expert.
4. Target Your Audience
While the Web enables job seekers to cast a wide net, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Reesa Staten, senior vice president and director of workplace research at Robert Half International, says that tapping online communities within your field will go a long way. For example, if you are a CPA, look for jobs and network on accounting industry job boards like those run by the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants or the American Society of Women Accountants.
5. Learn the Language
Make it easier for recruiters to find you by optimizing your resume and cover letter for search engines and resume scanning software. Catherine Clifford, co-founder of YourOnRamp.com, encourages job seekers to tailor resumes with keywords specific to your industry.
"They put your resume on the top of the heap, so to speak. So if you want your resume to be seen, sprinkle [keywords] into your resume liberally," she writes in her book, Your Career OnRamp. Look at the language in the job listings that interest you and incorporate the words that describe the nuts and bolts of the job.