LinkedIn has often been referred to as the 'professional person's facebook' and that's a pretty good analogy. It has recently undergone a massive revamp and now has plenty of whistles and bells added. With over one million new members signing up every week they must be doing something right!
The theory behind LinkedIn is based on the networking principle that an introduction is always better than a cold call. Whether you are talking about a business lead or a new job, there is far more credibility attached to a personal recommendation.
To get started on LinkedIn you register and create a profile - all sound familiar so far?! This is very much a work based profile, with options to add all jobs and education institutions, plus links to your blog, twitter account, even your StudentGems profile!
Then you need to build your connections; a two-way process (unlike twitter) where you are not 'connected' until the other person 'accepts' your invitation. Once you are connected you can see who that person knows as well as 2nd/3rd level connections, some of which could be very useful to you in your future career. Once connected, you can ask for introductions to people who may be able to help you with your job search, or give you information about a potential employer. LinkedIn also serves as an effective way for employers and job seekers to review listed professional information about each other.
Unlike facebook, this is one network where you DO want your boss listed in your connections, and if you can get them to write a recommendation so much the better!
LinkedIn is growing all the time. Have a look and see what it could do for you!