LinkedIn helps people get jobs, no doubt. I used it extensively to find journalists when I did some recruiting outside of my area for Patch in 2010, and friends in other fields have been contacted by headhunters who found them on LinkedIn.
To make LinkedIn work, though, you need to do more than post a resume. Recommend others, post questions, answer them, build a strong network and your visibility will rise. With visibility comes opportunity.
LinkedIn itself follows that mantra, interlacing itself more with networks such as Twitter.
One of LinkedIn’s cool, free tools is Signal, which helps LinkedIn users extract more value from the growing amount of content on the careers site and Twitter accounts by helping users slice and dice a tsunamic newsfeed down to a stream they actually can use.
It works like this: There is a “Search Updates” window just under the “What should your network know?” window near the top of the screen. Type in the term you are interested in, and LinkedIn will extract all the relevant messages from its general newsfeed. With 70 million users in 150 industries, there is a lot in that general feed.
When you click after the search term, it will open up a three column-page with the selected posts running down the main central column. Headlines on that subject, passed along by others, are in the right rail. The left rail lets you refine your search further.
For example, you can ask LinkedIn Signal to serve up posts by people in an industry, such as newspapers or television, who mention “job opening.” LinkedIn shows how closely you are connected to those people, where they work and, with another sort, who else they work with.
If you want to search only on a particular area, you can do that.
You can see what people at one company are saying about another. For example, I looked up what people at The New York Times were saying about Rupert Murdoch’s The Daily.
A freelancer can use Signal to see what the buzz is in a particular industry, and sources with contact information will be right there in the search.
Someone going off on a job interview easily could ask Signal what people in that company are commenting about, check their profiles and get a good sense of what is on the minds of the people and take that knowledge into the interview.