FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- In this age of up-to-the-minute Tweets and Facebook status updates, some are left disappointed when the same connectivity can’t be achieved in the job-searching arena.

The Fort Jackson Employment Readiness Program is offering a solution. A new class called “Job Searching through Social Networking,” aims to equip students with the tools needed to make meaningful employment connections via sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The course is tailored to those uncomfortable with social networking or completely new to using the Internet, said Danny Goldstein, an instructor at New Horizons Computer Learning Center in Columbia who will be teaching the on-post course.

The class focuses on “portable skills in social networking that will help people find employment, but also locate new schools and the best restaurants,” he said.

He also said those social networking skills are especially relevant to Army families.

“They allow you to initiate relationships before you get to a new place so that when you arrive, you can hit the ground running,” Goldstein said.

Barbara Martin, manager of Fort Jackson’s Employment Readiness Program, agreed that social networking skills are invaluable for military spouses.

“For most spouses who are looking for a job, (it) generally takes an average of two to six months to land a job here in the Columbia area,” she said. “One advantage to using social media (is that it) can assist them in setting up a network support system several months before arriving at the new location. They can start their job-searching process before they leave. Employers are using this new technology to screen and look for potential employees.”

New Horizons is an international company with skilled instructors in more than 300 centers worldwide. As a New Horizons course, “Social Networking” instructs students specifically how to tailor their profiles and present information on sites to yield the best employment results.

“We don’t just teach what to do. We teach how to make connections and do the follow up afterward, because it is the follow up that makes the difference,” said Goldstein. New Horizons instructors teach many other Information Technology classes at the Fort Jackson Education Center as the organization’s way of giving back to the military community.

Martin said she sees this course as an opportunity to help introduce different employment options to military families.

“By offering this class, we hope that our job seekers will explore new methods and hope to reduce some of their job searching frustrations,” she said.

ERP staff members encourage clients to network, but many job seekers get discouraged when they call a company to set up an informational interview and are rejected, Martin said. Using social media sites, she said, enables them to broaden their networking contacts even more.

“Many of our clients have stated that they are frustrated with the traditional methods of submitting an application online or cold calling an agency to try and set up an informational interview,” Martin said. “One of their major frustrations with submitting their resume online is that there is little feedback, if any at all, from the company regarding the status of the resume or even being about to talk to someone about jobs,” she said.

“Social media sites such as Linked-In, can allow job seekers to showcase their job skills to employers in a creative manner. (The) job seekers can make themselves known to potential employers before jobs are widely advertised.”