Let’s talk www.linkedin.com for a moment. Joining groups, adding people you meet at networking events, and offering valuable shared information in discussions and articles relevant to your field can establish your credibility as a subject matter expert! Joining groups that fit with your ultimate goal, and remaining active in these groups when you are employed increases your visibility in areas beneficial to your continued employability and ability to become promoted. Most importantly, I have made it a habit to add a contact to LinkedIn right after meeting him/her. That way, we can remain in contact and remember one another. You never know when there will be a need to reach out to another professional contact. Don’t just use people to get a job. Work with them to offer what you have, whether resources or other value-added components.

I am amazed at how many people tell me that they would find their references, except they moved/changed jobs/etc. Searching LinkedIn is a 30 second way to rekindle contact with someone with whom you had a great professional relationship. Who knows, their company may be hiring and looking for someone like…you!

Finally, ask for recommendations! You won’t believe how many people will give you a positive reference on the web…if you are a great employee and you ask them!

With the current buzz surrounding employers requesting Facebook passwords, it behooves you as a job seeker to have all of your privacy settings set to the most private possible on your Facebook account. Allow friends and family to know that you are engaged/married/pregnant for a 4th time, or bitter about your pending divorce. However, allowing a potential employer access to your personal business is similar to providing him/her with a password to your personal email account, which in turn speaks to: TOO MUCH INFORMATION! There is no need to over-share personal information with an employer, especially before they have a chance to get to know what an incredible fit you will be for their department.

I often compare a job search to dating, and opening up a web of questionable pictures, party invitations, or travel information is not the way to endear yourself to your future boss. It’s like sharing constipation and bunions on a first date. And really, who wants to know that much?

Utilizing LinkedIn, on the other hand, provides you with a professional networking opportunity to expand your job search and connections within the field to a variety of key players within organizations which can assist you in addressing cover letters and following up with phone calls properly. LinkedIn provides excellent information about companies and job openings. It will also keep you in the know about where your supervisor from a few jobs ago went in a bad economy, to provide you with a reference. And who wouldn’t want that?