LinkedIn is an amazing professional career tool and perhaps an even more amazing job search and prospecting tool. With over 65,000,000 members (and adding thousands of new members daily), this social networking service is your ticket to a world of career connections that would have been possible to achieve in years past. LinkedIn sets you up to unbelieveably leverage your experience, your skills, and your time during the job search.

Are you aware of LinkedIn has to offer? Are you a member?

If not, sign up for LinkedIn now! That's right. Open a spare window while you are reading this article. Go to the LinkedIn site - wwww You'll see the box to sign up now. You don't need much. Have your name, email, title, and company ready to go. Submit your new membership. Confirm from your email inbox. There--you are a member.

Whew! Now that we have that behind us, let's find out what LinkedIn has to offer. Keep in mind this is the beginner's intro, so we are going to hit the high spots. Take a look at other articles to get your "degree" in LinkedIn studies another time.

LinkedIn offers a number of good tools for getting your job search kicked to a higher gear including:

* Your profile. Much more than a resume, you should build a very complete profile. Professional information, interests, books you find most useful, your website, your blog, recommendations from key contacts and much more can all be added here.
* Join professional groups related to your field and / or your industry. Also, you can join alumni groups, past employer groups, and interest groups. Keep in mind, to some extent you are what you pick. If you are involved in a job search and if you value your professional reputation, make choices that support that concept. Joining the "tree hugger haters group" might not be a wise idea.
* Q&A - Q&A offers you an opportunity to find out important information about specific concepts, ideas, etc. that may turn out to be important to your search. Also, you can work at making a reputation for yourself by participating in Q&A that may be of interest to folks in your career field.
* Discussions - After you join the groups, you'll be able to start and participate in business area or career field with other professionals in your industry. This is a great opportunity to build your reputation, meet other active industry folks, and find leads on positions, etc.
* LinkedIn offers a jobs area too! Look for positions that fit. See if you can't find opportunities that are a good fit now. Get introduced to the hiring authorities directly--and so much more.

This is just scratching the surface. As you can see, LinkedIn is a window into a whole new universe of job finding tools, activities, and connections. Good luck and good hunting!

Author's Bio: 

Peggy McKee has over 15 years of experience in sales, sales management, sales recruiting, and career coaching. Her website, Career Confidential ( is packed with job-landing tips and advice as well as the practical, powerful, innovative tools every job seeker needs to be successful.

Learn to set up a LinkedIn profile that will attract hiring managers like a magnet at