After you have your computer and Internet situation figured out for your job search using social media, you will need to gather the other essential pieces of the job-searching-with-social-media puzzle:

  • A professional-sounding e-mail address: Your e-mail address is the key to the world of social media because you can’t sign up for sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook without one. And having an e-mail address with a professional ring to it tends to look better when filling out online applications.

  • Word-processing and spreadsheet software: You may, at some point, need to produce a résumé. For example, if you’re submitting an online application, you’ll be asked to attach a résumé, and you need a word-processing program to pull that résumé together. Spreadsheet software is good for budgeting, tracking milestones, and recording your target companies.

  • A phone number and answering machine: Don’t miss out on any opportunities by not having an answering service of some kind. You may not always be available to answer the phone. If you’re using your mobile phone, be sure that you have the answering service set up and you’re not using the default.

  • A planner or task organizer: Keep yourself organized and in control with some kind of web-based calendar and task management tool, which help guide your job-hunting sessions each day.

Most job-search books say you need to buy MS Word, a paper planner, a phone, spreadsheet software, and an answering machine, but honestly, all you need is a free Google account. By simply creating a Google e-mail (Gmail) account, you get the following free apps:

  • E-mail with Gmail, (which is the best user interface of any of them)

  • A word processor and spreadsheet software with Google Drive

  • A phone number and answering machine with Google Voice

  • A planner with Google Calendar

  • A task organizer with Google Tasks

  • A rolodex with Google Contacts

  • Photo editing software with Picnik

  • Translation software with Google Translate

  • A library of free books with Google Books