Back in the day, when I was rolling through campus, the internet was alive and well but access to get on it was limited. The library had a few computers available, but the line to get on one sometimes took 30 minutes or more. It was easier to jump online from home, but at that time you could only access the internet through a dial-up phone line. Since I was living with five other roommates on Trigo Road, we had to agree that no incoming phone calls would come in while someone was online. It was a huge pain in the ass, and it amazes me how far we have come in 15 years.

Nowadays it’s easy to get online and connect with people from anywhere at anytime of the day. Whether on Facebook or Foursquare, I can head down to my local coffeehouse in the Village and then not only let you know I’m there, but I can also send you a picture of the weird lady sitting across from me. It’s truly amazing, and while I know this piece of social communication has been a part of most of your adult life, I must repeat, it’s truly amazing. So what’s the best way for you to take advantage?

While most of you are probably on Facebook, there is another site I’d like you to keep in mind that will be key when jumping into the job market: Many of you have probably heard of it before, but I can’t tell you how important it has become for recruiters and executives alike when scanning potential candidates for a job. Think of LinkedIn as a social networking site for business. 

Not only can you post your résumé on the site, but you can invite people you trust and respect to “link” with you. Once you are linked up with another person, you form a connection that can allow you to see who that person is connected with in the business world. This feature is key, as it allows you to see where colleagues of your colleagues work — which can be crucial for introductions or passing along résumés.  It’s just like Facebook, but without the crazy pictures and favorite “Eclipse“ moments.

LinkedIn also sends out weekly newsletters letting you know if anyone within your network has switched jobs or became linked with new people. When I have had an opportunity to hire people, I’ve used LinkedIn on quite a few occasions to get a better sense of where that person has worked and who they have worked with.

So sign up now and get LinkedIn with those people (teachers, co-workers, successful friends of your parents) that you want to be connected with throughout your career. It’s a great resource and a fantastic way to keep in touch with people on a professional level.

Quick side note: Also keep in mind many executives and recruiters WILL look on Facebook to learn more about a potential candidate, so be sure to keep those photos and comments for the outside world as PG-rated as possible. I know people who were not considered for a job based on things that were visible on their Facebook page.

Adam W. Bloomis a former UCSB student who now lives in Greenwich Village in New York City. He has worked at several high-profile companies in entertainment and sports and currently runs his own production company called 28 Parks Production.