When I lost my job a few months ago I thought the job search consisted of posting my resume on some boards, calling a few recruiters, and checking my target companies websites frequently to be the first to apply to a new job.

I kept getting bugged to go to a free 2-day workshop for professionals that were looking for a new job.  But I couldn’t go – I was too busy looking for a job on Monster!  This distraction would just be “noise” in my job search.

After month I conceded and went to the workshop.  I learned that I had spent about 95% of my job search time doing what is supposedly about 4% – 17% effective – quite a mismatch.  Even if the figures are outdated, I was still spending way too much time on a very unbalanced job search strategy.

Since then I’ve been sensitive to learning about a good strategy mix.  I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of the amount of time you should spend on different activities.  But I still get this nagging pull from the techno world – and it is alluring!  What of these cool job seeker sites constitutes noise?

With the amazing success that Jobster has been having (most notably their new funding, bringing their total funding to about $50M), and MySpace’s announcement that they are getting into the job search arena, MyJobby and Emurse (I LOVE that name – it jumbles up “resume” and job seekers feel that they are immersed in this process) – oh and you can’t forget LinkedIN – and that is barely the tip of the tip of the iceberg.  What is a job seeker to do?

You can spend a lot of time getting (and maintaining) accounts on MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn and everything else.  Don’t forget to get a blog account somewhere… it is free – but are you going to post with regularity and quality stuff – not lame cliche gripes.  Imagine how cool your personal business card will be: 18 ways to get in touch with you and all of these social networking sites to read more about you!

Here’s my nutshell on LinkedIn.  I’ll talk about others later.  This is just me – I’m sure others have had amazing success using these mediums.

LinkedIn – … is a lonely place if you don’t have any invites.  The job search can be depressing enough (you get more rejections or no-replies than a loser trying to get a date) – do you really want to set up an account and have one connection?  Then, anyone that looks at your profile can see that you have one connection.  Nice.  Also, I wonder what percentage of a person’s network is really in their LinkedIn account.

For example, I’ve forged some very important relationships with some big movers and shakers – industry experts, tech hot shots, investors, etc. and I DO NOT want to make them available to the rest of my LinkedIn account.  These relationships might be very early-stage, or sensitive, and I don’t want to blow my chance with these folks by posting their e-mail to a semi-public domain.

On the other hand, linked in is cool, functional, useful, and lots of people find value out of it.  I have enjoyed getting hooked up with people that have other connections, and I have reached out to some of those people that I would have never had a chance to hook up with.

But you can’t walk into it thinking that it is going to be your silver bullet.  It may just be a part of your strategy.

Noise or not?