Both employees and employers are turning to websites such as LinkedIn to network and sniff out job opportunities, reported USA Today.
LinkedIn's CEO and founder Reid Hoffman said this social networking site, which lets business professionals create online profiles to seek jobs and network, is adding members faster than ever despite its own recent lay-offs and a management shake-up.
About 1 million people flock to the network every two weeks now, compared with 1 million per month earlier this year. (The site has 33 million members from 8 million two years ago.)
The surge accelerated in early September, when murmurs of recession began to take hold and business professionals intensified their networking efforts.
Many of the gains have come from employees and laid-off workers in financial industries such as investment banking.
Professionals such as public relations specialist Tim Whitman say it has helped him seek out appropriate contacts and potential hires.
The 36-year-old from Boston, who has 335 connections, said: 'I use it as a recruiting tool and as a way to network as more people use LinkedIn.
'The economy is a factor. But it is a great business-networking tool in today's unstable work environment.'
And with fewer jobs available, MrHoffman and others expect more people to rush into online business networking sites such as these.
Explained Mr Hoffman: 'Many people - employed or not - will do project work as consultants, and look for clients.
'LinkedIn is the office, Facebook is the barbecue in the backyard, and MySpace is the bar,' he said, referring to the three major social-networking sites battling it out for millions of consumers and billions of dollars in online ads.
At at a time when other companies are predicting reduced growth, LinkIn is expecting the reverse.
The site has been revamped with more features that makes it accessible and relevant.
For example, there is a recruiting service for human resource departments, a survey application for market research firms and several advertising services.
It is boldly making strategic changes even after it laid off 36 people, about 10 per cent of its staff, last month. The company hired movers and shakers from Internet heavyweights Yahoo and Google.
Still, analysts say the site can do a better job of getting its millions of current members to use the site more.
Said Marissa Gluck, an analyst at Radar Research: 'LinkedIn hasn't quite figured out how to encourage frequent participation.
This article was first published in The New Paper on January 03, 2009.