Recently I sat with a great candidate to discuss his job search. We had talked about the different resources he could utilize to conduct an effective search and to my surprise I found that my candidate was not a member of LinkedIn. I suggested how he could maximize his search by creating a LinkedIn account. I was amazed to find resistance and a strong opinion to not join one of the world's largest, most powerful networking sites. Then I realized that he was averse to joining LinkedIn due to the fact that he had a misunderstanding of what LinkedIn is. He was under the impression that it was just another social site like Facebook. I spoke with him in depth about why he should join LinkedIn and shared with him how I utilize the site as a recruiter. It is one of the sites I use on a daily basis to find candidates and prospects and I think anyone who is not utilizing LinkedIn is doing themselves a major disservice. In the rare occasion that I speak with someone who is not on LinkedIn, I give them the following reasons why to join:

1. Maximize your visibility. If you are a LinkedIn user then Congratulations! If not, recognize that your chance of being found and considered for opportunities has drastically dropped. Many VP's, Directors, Managers and every good Recruiter utilize LinkedIn for many searches and in some cases LinkedIn is used to validate your resume. A professional profile on LinkedIn with a picture and references can make the difference of you being considered for a job and your resume being tossed in the trash. Nowadays, job boards are ineffective and inundated with old and irrelevant resumes. Recruiters, like myself, turn to LinkedIn to conduct a search rather than to job boards like Monster or CareerBuilder.

2. Interview Preparation. LinkedIn is stocked full of information about companies and employees that work for those companies. As part of your interview preparation you always need to research the company. The corporate website can give you basic information about the company but LinkedIn allows you to get an understanding of the inner structure of a company. Who are the executives? What type of background do they have? Search the title of the position that you're interviewing for and look to see if there are other professionals currently in that role. What are their backgrounds? Search for the person that you'll be interviewing