In my post on finding the new frustration of 10+ years, and the hidden fact that there is always another barrier to getting really cool jobs, I talked about LinkedIn and the fact that I was using that.
I got questions about that, so here are answers (I'm generous that way... or bored with nothing to do, I leave that as an exercise for the reader).
LinkedIn is one of those social networking sites. Given that you know someones name and email address, you should be able to send them an invite and you two get linked together. Were you linked to me (and Bill, we should sort that out) you would be able to see everyone that I know (who is also a LinkedIn member) and, if you wanted to get a job to them you could try and use me to put you in touch with them. If they like me (slim hope...) and I like you then it should help to get your resume in front of them. Given the HR filter that stops a lot of resumes, there is value in this.
I also have used it in the past to find people in companies. Given an introduction from someone they know, I get farther on the first call than I might otherwise. It works for that, and I have used it for that a lot.
For jobs....no data yet. No leads yet. But that is true of every other method I am trying and is also likely some fallout from the fact that I am impatient and have only been really looking for 1 week. We will see how things shake out....
Is LinkedIn necessary to get ahead in business. Probably not, but I do see an awful lot of people in our industry in there. Can it help you get a job. Probably. Anything that gets you in front of people is worth trying. Sure beats spamming Monster.com as a strategy.