After this past week, a lot of people are looking for work. LinkedIn is a hugely valuable tool when you are in this situation.
You need a good profile
When I did my job search about a year ago, I hardly sent out any resumes – all the relevant information was in my LinkedIn profile. In January of 2007, Guy Kawasaki wrote a must read post on improving your profile. More and more people are using LinkedIn, so you need all the help you can get to make your profile stand out.
You need a high quality network
I think that it is very important to protect the quality of your LinkedIn network. Early on in my LinkedIn usage, I someone I didn’t really know asked me to introduce/recommend them to someone I knew fairly well. It was a very uncomfortable solution. In order for LinkedIn to provide the maximum value, you need to feel that you can actually make recommendations across your network. This is one place where the game of “how many contacts do I have” can backfire. Save the contacts game for Facebook or Twitter.
You should use LinkedIn to reverse screen
Normally job seekers have very little information about those who might interview them. No longer. When you are contacted by a recruiter or a company, you can use LinkedIn as a way to screen the person contacting you. You can do this when recruiters or hiring managers contact you — you should read their profile to help you decide whether to proceed. You should definitely read the profile (as well as any other information, like blogs) of a hiring manager before an in person interview. When I did hiring as a manager, I was always impressed (once I got used to it) when a candidate demonstrated that they had read my blog or profile.