If you want to find a job in this tough job market, there’s no better solution than LinkedIn. By joining this popular job search network, you can literally access over thousands of company contact profiles.

You can connect with the managers of top corporations and find people who work in your very own industry! We’ve all heard of Facebook, Twitter and the all-so famous Craigslist.

But what if you can combine all of these social networks and turn them into ONE job search tool? That’s what LinkedIn is. It has over 200 million members in over 150 industries and most of these people are employed workers hoping to find a job through this enhanced job search tool.

Here are 10 ways you can use LinkedIn to find a job:

1. Get the word out

Let people know that you’re looking for a job by updating your status. This tells your network of connections that you’re interested in a new position. Because a job search requires large notifications, the more people know about your job hunt, the more likely you’ll get an offer.

Even if you don’t find a job, you can still rely on your pool of networks to help you find the right connections.

2. Get recommendations from your colleagues

LinkedIn is a great resource to share your references live on the Internet. You can ask for some testimonials from your former manager and post them on your LinkedIn page.

This will prove your credibility as an employee and get others to notice your key accomplishments at the companies you’ve worked for. A strong recommendation from your manager highlights your strengths and shows your value to the potential hiring staff.

3. Find out where people with your background are working

Search for companies in your industry and find out which people are working there. You can even do an advanced search to see if anybody you know or who is from your area works for those companies.

If there are, this is a good opportunity for you to connect with them and ask them if their company is recruiting new members.

4. Find out where people at a company came from

LinkedIn offers a special tool that allows you to see the career paths of individuals who’ve worked for a particular company. It’s called “Company Profiles” and it’s a very useful application to find out what kind of experience a company is looking for in new hires.

5. Find out where people at a company go next

LinkedIn’s “Company Profiles” tool also lets you see where people at a certain company go next after leaving the company to do something else.

You can track down exactly where employees go after working for one company and find out where other people go from other companies in your sector. This could help you decide which places to work for and which to avoid.

6. Check to see if a company is hiring

You can optimize your job search by going to the company pages on LinkedIn and accessing the “New Hires” section.

It lists all the people who’ve joined a company and if you’re really curious, you can ask these new employees how they managed to get their first job. Don’t be afraid to do a bit of detective work to learn the backgrounds of these people that made them so attractive to the manager.

7. Contact the hiring manager

I know this can be daunting, but you have to at least try it in order to get your foot through the door. Not only does LinkedIn provide the option of searching for any job you want, you can see exactly who posted the job.

Pay close attention to the ones who live no more than two degrees away from you. You may even know the person who posted the job! It can’t get any better than that. Another way to find companies you have ties to is to use the “Companies in your Network” section on LinkedIn’s job search page.

8. Find the right HR person

Probably the best way to get hired is to find the hiring manager. But if this is not possible, you can always use LinkedIn to find someone inside the company and ask them to deliver your executive resume to the right hiring manager or HR department.

When someone receives a resume from a co-worker, even if they don’t know him or her, they almost always pay attention to it.

9. Find out the secret job requirements

It’s hard for people to apply for a job when they don’t know the exact job requirements of a particular job. Job postings rarely list all the skills a hiring manager is seeking in a new employee.

Find a connection within a company who can get you the inside scoop on what is required of a new hire for a particular job. You can do this by searching for the company name and looking up the people in your network who connect you to that company.

If you don’t have an inside connection, just view the profiles of the people who work for that company to get an idea of their specific background and skills.

10. Find startup companies to join

If worse comes to worse and you can’t find anywhere to work for, find some startup companies you can join. You should definitely try working for a new company especially if you’re just starting out in your job search.

This is a great opportunity for new graduates to gain some experience before they jump into the big market. Use LinkedIn’s advanced search engine and enter keywords like “startup” in the company field.

You can also narrow your job search by industry (e.g. startup in Web 2.0, wireless or biotech sectors). Think about it: If large companies don’t offer you any job search security, you might as well consider working for a startup company instead.

11. Build your network before you need it

One last important tip is to build a strong group of connections. No matter where you are in your career search, it’s always a good idea to build a strong network to have some job security in case the economy is down.

Remember that the key ingredient to any job search is “schmoozing” and it’s filled with counter-intuitiveness. This means you should add people who know you and not people you only know.

Most people use LinkedIn to find a job or to market themselves for future employment. If you can’t make yourself seen or heard, how can expect people to hire you? In the modern digital age, there’s no better way to sell yourself than to optimize your LinkedIn profile.

This way, employers can get access to your account and send you notifications or offers right away. If your experiences and skills match a job opening a company has available, you may even get an interview opportunity when you least expect it!

Before you know you it, you could be the CEO of a large national company simply because you took the time to network and build your profile on LinkedIn.

People spend thousands of hours trying to find a job through job boards and job postings. Why should you do the same? Diversify your options and find a new and exciting way to look for jobs through LinkedIn. Everyone is using it and so should you!

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