Facebook and other social networking websites have become the hottest tools in the tech-savvy job-seeker's kit in this recession.

"They were there pre-recession," says Kate Ross, founder of Kinetic Recruitment and columnist on the Herald's jobs site.

"They have become even more powerful during the recession. The networking sites have just gone boof. It's who you know, not what you know."

There's still plenty of debate about whether these new technologies actually work.

"I haven't heard of anyone who has got a job through Facebook or Linked In," Kate Ross says.

"Am I personally on Facebook? Heck, no. But most of my team are. If you're in marketing or advertising and you are fully active in Facebook, Twitter and Linked In promoting yourself, clients will say, 'He's obviously aware of what's going on in the market', and will lean probably towards someone like that because they are current."

Amid the growing menu of new technologies, there is a consensus that one that definitely works is to sign up for email alerts from job websites, such as Seek, nzherald.co.nz/jobs and Trade Me Jobs.

The Careers Service website, careers.govt.nz, provides links to 149 job websites for New Zealand, 19 for Australia and the Pacific and 72 for the rest of the world.

Northern regional manager Dale Bailey recommends registering with all that look relevant to your field.

"Most of them offer the opportunity to load in a profile and then you get emails of jobs that match your profile. I know the Herald offers that," he says.

"That is the best way to approach it - spend time getting your profile in there and then just check your emails."

Michele Olney, who was made redundant from a recruitment job and is now back contracting, says she logged on every day to check for job alerts and also to look at the careers sections of company websites where she wanted to work.

"It's all about timing - being active in the market and registering with the various websites," Ms Olney says.

Social networking websites require being more selective. Kate Ross knows of someone who lost her job for "bagging the boss" on Facebook.

Advertising account director Derryn Brenan uses Facebook for friends she has worked with and a professional network, linkedin.com, for others.

"You don't necessarily want to have high-level business contacts on your Facebook," she says. "I have about 10 contacts on Linked In - they are your important business people."

Julie Cressey of Madison Recruitment says her agency and others use Linked In when they search for people with the right skills for senior jobs.

"We've found it useful when we throw the net out to Linked In. People do respond," she says.

Tom O'Neil of cv.co.nz says people applying for top jobs increasingly use their Linked In sites to link to groups of interest and to highlight references from past associates.

"You have people you used to work for. They can post comments: 'Tom is a great leader in HR, he really cares about his people'," he says.

"If they post negative comments, you can edit them - it's your page. It's an online profile page. When you're a business professional you want to sell that professional side.

"When you're 16 years old you want to sell yourself as hot and cool. When you're a 52-year-old CEO, you want to sell your good team leadership."

But Ms Olney says the networking sites are not enough to get jobs by themselves.

"In addition to logging on daily, I still kept up other more traditional forms of networking as well," she says.

Gay Barton of Drake says the new technologies are only a complement to, and cannot be a substitute for, direct face-to-face jobhunting.

"Yes, we've got the job boards [websites] and the networks, but at the end of the day you need to get in front of the actual person, the employer.

"If you identify a few companies you'd like to work for, research them and put together a covering letter that really gets to what you could do for that company, find who is the most appropriate person to get in front of, and persevere," says Ms Barton.

"If you're polite about it, say, 'Do you mind if I contact you in two weeks as a follow-up?' Most people won't mind.

"The key thing is that you do the follow-up. Companies are trying to make sure that they keep good people for when the recession does come to an end, and when other companies are laying people off this is an opportunity to pick up those good people."