Editor's note: This article appeared in the November 22, 2010, edition of Quirk's e-newsletter.

In the midst of economic recovery, the research industry job market is slowly picking back up, and many research professionals may take these new employment opportunities to leave stale jobs, make an upward move or even relocate. Job hunters are burning up cyberspace with their job searches - e-mailing, texting and "friending" potential employers until their fingers are numb - and it's no secret that the Web is a smart place to start, but Web 2.0 technologies can only take would-be hires so far in their search. E-mail, social networking and smartphones have become an integral part of 21st-century culture, but (mis)use of these ultra-connective technologies on the job hunt could land you one click away from failure, according to Kate Wendleton, president of New York career coaching company The Five O'Clock Club.

Technology is a job hunter's friend, but only if used correctly. Break the unspoken rules of job search techno-etiquette and all you'll accomplish is getting your virtual résumé dragged into the trash.

"How you use technology speaks volumes about your skills, your style, your ability to connect with future employers and your manners," says Wendleton. "The devices you use, when and how you use them, and the content of your messages send subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, signals to a prospective employer that can improve or derail your chances of getting an interview and ultimately landing the job."

Here are a few suggestions on proper new technology etiquette for job hunters.

Make your first impression the old-fashioned way. In an age where e-mailing and texting seem to be the preferred methods of communication, it may come as a surprise that snail mail is actually the best way to get recognized by hiring managers. But when you consider that all businesspeople get too much e-mail and spam these days, it makes perfect sense. When hiring managers get an unsolicited e-mail that they don't recognize, they may delete it without ever opening it. So drop your letter and résumé in the mailbox - yes, the actual mailbox.

E-mail is best for follow-up and networking. E-mail is generally viewed as acceptable for communication after a meeting. It's fine for when you want to send a link to showcase your work or indicate a relevant article reflecting the content of your conversation. But important follow-ups should always be sent by snail mail as well, to assure that the formatting will be correct and the letter won't get lost in cyberspace. E-mail is also ideal for contacting someone recommended by a member of your network. Put the person's name in the subject line to be sure you are not automatically deleted.

When following up after a job interview: Think strategy! In the old days, the question for job hunters was, "Should I follow up by phone or letter?" Today, they likely ask, "Should I follow up by phone or e-mail?" Actually, the issue of follow-up is far more complex than which mode of communication you plan to use. Your routine should also involve thinking and strategizing about what form of follow-up will be best for the organization or person you will be contacting.

"At the end of your interview or phone interview, always ask your interviewer how he or she prefers to be contacted. This will allow you to use the best method for him or her and will help you avoid stepping on any toes. Most interviewees can pick up from their interviewer what kind of communication is or is not acceptable. Regardless, if you keep your follow-up courteous, gracious and respectful, you should be okay," says Wendleton.

Use mobile devices only in a pinch. For too many of us in the fast-paced 21st-century world, our cell phones and other portable communication devices are like our high-tech appendages. But when it comes to your job hunt, it's time to amputate.

"Many people type rapidly and badly with their thumbs on BlackBerries and similar devices," says Wendleton. "The typical mobile message has at least two typos in it because it's composed in a hurry and in quick reaction to an inbound e-mail. And the tone tends to be terse or glib and subject to misinterpretation. If you want to appear thoughtful, insightful or expert, know that the mobile device may undercut your credibility. If you must use it, the general rule about e-mail holds: Always proofread!"

To sell yourself to potential employers, don't "cell" yourself. We all use cell phones so we all know the drawbacks. Sound quality and consistent transmission are iffy, and background noise is ubiquitous. Never use a cell phone for telephone interviews or other phone communication, even if it's just a cursory screening interview.

"Use your cell phone to set up or change an appointment, to call ahead if you are running late, or to get in touch quickly with a recruiter. If you're a younger job applicant and don't have a landline, make sure you are in a place where you know you have consistently great cell phone reception and schedule your interview for a time when you can be in a quiet location. Also, always carry a pen and a pad with you so that you can easily write down any information you're given. Asking your interviewer to e-mail you information is a huge no-no."

Don't call your interviewers on their cells, either. Never make an initial or introductory call to a hiring manager's cell phone, even if you manage to get the number. In contrast to landlines, everyone still perceives their mobile phones to be as private as their home phones. It is the ultimate intrusion - the ultimate audio spam - to receive an unsolicited call from a job hunter on one's cell phone. The same holds true for texting. It virtually guarantees a negative result.

For first-time communication, always avoid instant messaging, Internet directories and social networks. Instant messaging is a permission-based concept. People invite others of their choosing to interrupt them with instant messages. Rarely are job candidates invited to use this technology by prospective employers. Seeking out and finding a hiring manager via IM is considered extremely rude and intrusive and should be off-limits to job seekers.The same holds true for social networking.

"Unless someone explicitly invites you to check out their MySpace or Facebook page or contact them through a social network - don't," Wendleton says.

Network through LinkedIn and other sites. LinkedIn provides you with a 21st-century way to build up your professional network. Just as you should consider other passive techniques such as contacting search firms and answering ads, LinkedIn should be on your list of job searching strategies.

Always use your best judgment. This may not seem like much advice at all. But the reality is there are just too many factors that go into creating a successful job hunt strategy for there to be the same hard-and-fast advice for every candidate. There are always occasions where it's okay, or even advisable, to break the rules.

"When it comes down to it, you must assess the risks of your decisions and do what is right for you," says Wendleton. "If you receive consistently positive responses to the e-mails you send to interviewers, then e-mail away. If you trust your cell phone and don't like the idea of waiting around all day by your landline for a prospective employer to call, then put your cell number on your résumé. Use trial-and-error to find out what is and isn't working in your job search and eventually you will create a sound strategy that will steer you toward great opportunities."