According to a Jump Start Media poll of hiring managers, 75% use LinkedIn, 48% use Facebook, and 26% use Twitter to research candidates before making job offers. Chris Russell, from Secrets of the Job Hunt, advises job hunters to "Start with one service, get comfortable with it, and branch out from there. The easiest, safest choice is LinkedIn because it has always been 100% business focused."
I concur with Chris' advice because LinkedIn is well known for helping people to find jobs, identify business partners, keep in touch with professional colleagues, and so much more. There are many excellent resources about how to use LinkedIn. One of my favorites is How to be a LinkedIn Superstar by Larry Weintraub (CEO of Fanscape, a leading Digital Engagement Marketing Agency).
Recently, LinkedIn has developed two new resources specifically geared towards helping recent college graduates find jobs. I strongly recommend these resources for '09 grads who want to network professionally in LinkedIn:
• LinkedIn '09 Grad Guide - a how to guide for establishing a network on LinkedIn.
• '09 Grads Group in LinkedIn - a LinkedIn group for learning from peers, educators, professionals, and the LinkedIn staff.
I suspect that LinkedIn will offer a similar guide and group for 2010+ grads as well. Good luck with your professional networking!
Theresa B. Flaherty can be reached on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/flahertb.