LinkedIn is the hottest new online network that can help you make a real connection. No, it’s not a dating service. It might be even better. With 9 million already using LinkedIn, it’s a way to make connections with countless former and new professional contacts.

The free service can help you upgrade your career, contact former colleagues and classmates, people search, and check out a potential new employer. You can quickly create a personal profile and make new connections in minutes.

Here are five ways you and your job search can benefit from using LinkedIn:

  1. Expand Your World. The more information that you include in your profile, the more connections you’ll make and the more you will increase the possibility of your profile being seen by someone looking for a job candidate just like you.


  1. Connections That Work. You are more likely to be contacted by a potential manager or interviewer who doesn’t know you, but feels more comfortable because they know your connections: your friends; co-workers; classmates.


  1. New Opportunities. Using an advanced search will link you to others with similar educational and professional experience who can open up your eyes to potential positions at their companies and at other possible new workplaces.


  1. Improve Interviews. Through LinkedIn, you can find out more about a prospective new employer and the person(s) who might interview you. This can provide you with more information and a better comfort level for your interview.


  1. Promote Yourself. If you have your own Web site or a personal blog, you can link your profile to them and link them to search engines. This will help get you and your job search the ultimate amount of exposure.