Linkedin - You're "on," but are you using it?

You got caught up in the Linkedin wave and set up a profile. Yay, you.

But what are you doing with it? Are you leveraging it big-time in your job search? Based on many, many conversations I've had with job seekers my guess is, probably not.

Sure, you may dabble with it, but are you joining groups as a killer means to network with, literally, thousands of people with similar interests, job goals and specialties?

Are you participating in forums and discussions to position yourself as an expert in your field?

Are you researching companies that interest you, and learning about the people working within that company? Reaching out to them?

Not to mention, is your profile complete enough so that a recruiter who views it can understand precisely what you have to offer? (Our firm, by the way, found 4 of our last 5 placements via Linkedin. Recruiters today are using it as a primary means of finding you...or, not you, if you're not there.)

So where to begin? I appeal to you to investigate Groups first. Seek out a handful of groups whose members are working in similar fields, doing similar things, have common interests. Once you are approved as a member, you immediately have direct access to all of that group's members. DIRECT ACCESS, people! This gives you an instant pool of relevant contacts, often hundreds or thousands of them, with whom you can network.

I also strongly recommend LinkedIntelligence, which dubs itself as "The Unofficial Source for All Things LinkedIn."

For those on the job market, LinkedIn isn't just a cool resource. I'd consider it a mandatory part of your search strategy.

Don't be intimidated. Dive in.