A Luddite's Guide to LinkedIn

Eight tips for using professional Web sites to find your next job.

ByABC News
September 9, 2008, 6:15 PM

Nov. 6, 2008 — -- By now, we've all heard that recruiters and hiring managers are increasingly using social networking sites to find job applicants. A study released in October by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 17 percent more HR professionals use sites like LinkedIn to recruit candidates than they did in 2006.

I've paid a lot of lip service in past columns to using LinkedIn to stay connected with professionals in your field and to help in your hunt for full-time or consulting work, should you find yourself unemployed. Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I'm not a fan of online "friends" bombarding me with pokes and personality quizzes and silly little beer stein icons.

When it comes to making business contacts, I prefer LinkedIn's no-muss, no-fuss approach. And since every Fortune 500 company and 600,000 small business owners also use the site, I'd think anyone serious about maximizing their job hunt would too.

But besides "find employers" and "meet people" I haven't told you much about what you can actually do with LinkedIn. Probably because, like most LinkedIn users I know, I hadn't done much more than fill out my profile and build up my contact list.

So, in an attempt to crawl out from under my online networking rock and see what this site could really do, I contacted LinkedIn spokeswoman Krista Canfield last week for a quick lesson in the free features that I'd been missing out on. Herewith, my top eight LinkedIn tips (gleaned from Canfield) that even the most technophobic job hunter can put to use: