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Another week, and another roundup of related press and blog items that discuss LinkedIn and professional networking in general. This week we’ve got some great articles that range from USA Today’s dissection of LinkedIn’s growth to the Washington Times that talks about professional networking in general. Given below are five appropriate news pieces, links to the articles and quotes from the articles themselves:

1. USA Today | Business of LinkedIn… is business:

LinkedIn is drawing notice as perhaps the next big thing in the so-called Web 2.0 space of Internet social and professional networking companies. With 14 million members in the USA and overseas, the privately held LinkedIn could haul in $100 million in revenue next year from corporate and individual subscriptions and advertisements from Microsoft, Wal-Mart and other companies.

Recruiters from Google (GOOG), Yahoo (YHOO) and other companies use LinkedIn to seek job candidates, while individuals use it to broaden business networks and connect with colleagues, alumni and industry experts.

2. The Washington Times |  Networking site that caters to business:

Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, an assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, said the site has had a phenomenal effect on recruiting.

“There is a substantial set of people who are middle-level managers and slightly above, but we don’t know who they are. They aren’t high enough to make it into the ‘who is who,’ but at the same time they have high-enough positions in their companies that they cannot advertise themselves as looking for a job. In many ways, those people are kind of stuck,” Mr. Piskorski said. “LinkedIn has literally freed those people. The way it’s done that is, it’s sort of allowed people to advertise themselves on the market, say, ‘Hey, here I am, not explicitly looking for a job, but I’m willing to entertain offers.’ “

3. Business 2.0 | On employer reference checks:

It’s not just employees who have to adjust to the new screening processes. Employers are also prepping for interviews in ways they never did before. When LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman was searching for a new CEO earlier this year, he took an unusual approach to checking references. Having set his sights on a particular candidate, he used the LinkedIn network to find what he calls “off-balance references”: 23 former associates who were not preapproved by the candidate. Some were friends of friends – two degrees removed, in LinkedIn parlance. Some
had no idea who Hoffman was or why he was calling.

The unscripted references helped to prepare the team that interviewed Hoffman’s final choice. Equally important, Hoffman got unfiltered information about a potential top-tier employee, minimizing the likelihood of getting duped. “Normally it’s a low bar for someone to
give you two or three people who’ll say nice things about them,” Hoffman says. “Our way of doing it requires a bit of detective work, and you need to put a story together. But you quickly sense if a person is good or a sham.”

4. Computer World | Assessing an employer’s culture is vital:

Online networking sites such as LinkedIn can help you expand your connections and obtain more information. The more sources you consult, the better – if you hear a negative report from a disgruntled former employee, for example, try to balance it with the impressions of someone who works for the company now.

The job interview is the best time to learn about a corporate culture. For example, take note of the workplace atmosphere. Do employees seem engaged with their work and one another, or under stress and isolated?

5. Boston Herald | Advance through online communities:

There are literally thousands of personal communities created around health and wellness issues, music, media, IT support and even nationality-based communities.

In comparison, there are relatively few social networking sites that are endeavoring to enable the business professional, but they definitely exist, and it is worthwhile for the motivated businesswoman to seek them out

Feel free to leave us a comment if there are news articles or blog posts we may have missed. Or, if you’ve thoughts on the articles themselves.