LinkedIn still helps networking

by Brooke Bovee

LinkedIn, the professional social networking website, is necessary to have. Without a profile, you might fall behind the times.

The majority of Fortune 500 companies have pages on and use LinkedIn, according to Tom Becker, vice president of recruiting for Experis, a recruitment consulting agency.

Recruiters use the profiles to see who is actively networking and taking advantage of technology.

Several businesses have offered me interviews via LinkedIn, and even more recruiters have viewed my profile to see whether I’m what they were looking for. Clearly, companies are actually using the site.

For me, LinkedIn goes beyond making connections. Often I use the site to find a friend or stranger whose career path mirrors my own aspirations. I then look at what kinds of work these people have done to get to where they are now.

But despite its benefits, there are some problems. The company is currently facing a class-action lawsuit.

A feature called “In-mail,” which could potentially allow employers to go beyond the listed references in an application and ask other former co-workers how the potential employee acted, delves into questionable ethical ground.

Another questionable practice LinkedIn has adopted is its “premium” user option, which allows those who pay a fee to get enhanced filtering options for companies and search optimization for job searchers. It is essentially moving in the direction of allowing those who pay more to have a better chance of getting found, which is elitist at best.

Still, LinkedIn gets your name out there and can be a good tool to connect you with organizations. Despite the questionable direction it is moving in, it is still an effective tool to use in conjunction with attending job fairs, networking and trying to meet potential employers in person.