Last year about this time, Kay offered some New Year’s resolutions on how to jump-start your career. As we kick off 2009, many are looking for the best ways to find meaningful employment, and a good place to start is one’s own network. A recommendation from a trusted colleague can outweigh a stack of Ivy League résumés. In fact, when Randall Rothenberg went looking for a Chief Officer for the Interactive Advertising Bureau in 2007, he turned to his LinkedIn network first.

“I realized … the place to go to begin that search was going to be my LinkedIn network,” Randall told us. “If anyone can lead me to the kind of person with the kinds of capabilities I was looking for, it’s this set of people.” Randall posted the job on LinkedIn and began filtering candidates.

In Florida, Patrick Dolan was searching for consulting opportunities in New York and came across Randall’s job posting. Not only did the job seem like a perfect fit for his skillset, but LinkedIn showed him a professional connection he shared with Randall. Patrick reached out to their common connection to learn more about the opportunity, and barely a month later, he had a corner office as Chief Administrative Officer, a position combining the roles of CFO and COO.

Randall highly values the services of executive recruiters and head hunters. But in this case, he estimates he saved up to $150,000 by turning to LinkedIn for this and another senior placement. Sounds like a fine way to hire the right talent and trim expenses during a recession.

LinkedIn User Snapshot

Who: Randall Rothenberg, President & CEO, Interactive Advertising Bureau (New York, NY)

How: Randall placed his Chief Administrative Officer and another SVP by conducting his own talent search on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Tips from Randall and Patrick

Turn to your network to find the right employment opportunities:

• Begin your job search or talent search on LinkedIn Jobs
Import your address book to reveal common connections at hiring companies
Request recommendations from people who know your skillset best
• And of course, represent yourself with a robust Profile that showcases your experience

Check out the Learning Center to learn more about using LinkedIn