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It seems like everywhere you turn these days someone is talking or writing about social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. But are these sites really useful, or are they just a giant time suck? Well, according to some of the contract recruiters we’ve spoken to recently, spending just a little time each day using these tools is really helping them make placements, and we will be sharing some of their thoughts and experiences with you in future blog posts.

The one thing that has become really clear as we talk to these recruiters is that they find LinkedIn to be the most useful site because it provides the ability to post jobs, easily find contract candidates, and network with other experts in their niches.

If you have not already registered, now may be the time to sign up and start poking around. The more familiar you become with the site, the more sense the advice we provide from other contract recruiters will make. It is very easy to create an account on LinkedIn. When you reach the homepage, all you will have to do is enter your first and last name, a valid email address (preferably your work email), and a password. After you click the “Join Now” button, you’re in!

There is an entire “Learning Center” to help you get your feet wet after you register. From your LinkedIn home page, simply mouse over the “More” link at the top of the screen and click on “Learning Center.” LinkedIn also offers a free Webcast on the site’s basics every Wednesday at 1 p.m. CST.

Be sure to complete as much information as you can in your Profile. Include a (smiling) picture of yourself to make it easier for contract candidates, clients, and prospective clients to recognize you, and start connecting with people you know!

LinkedIn® is a registered trademark of LinkedIn Corporation.

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