Because LinkedIn and Facebook are referred to as social networking, most jobseekers use them primarily or even exclusively as networking tools. However, social networks are valuable at every stage of the job search, not just networking.
Target identification. Use the detailed profiles in LinkedIn to get a better understanding of different job functions and career paths. If you think you want to work in corporate philanthropy, find people who have these jobs and review their experience, skills, and projects. Use this as a guide to what you might need in your career, or at least as good issues to research.
Company and industry research. Again using the profile data, pay attention to how people talk about their work. The projects people are working on are invaluable clues to deciphering what their company exactly does, especially when it is a small, privately held company with little published information about clients or projects. Group Discussions are another way to get a sense for a company or industry. Find a company alumni group or industry niche and follow the discussions or ask questions out right.
Salary data. Use the Q&A function or specific Group Discussions in LinkedIn to collect data on salary, lifestyle, growth prospects, and other useful information for your own offer negotiation. Because so many geographies and industries are represented on online social networks you can specify exactly what you are looking for and likely find a close proxy.