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PROFILE: Cristine Hoole - Marketing director, LinkedIn

  Cristina HooleThe beginning of this year saw the appointment of a European team for US-based LinkedIn, heralding a new wave of expansion for the business social networking site that has gone from strength to strength since it was founded in 2003. Cristina Hoole, its marketing & PR director for Europe, was taken on in May. Her appointment is a prime example of how LinkedIn works: her boss, European MD Kevin Eyres, who heads up the new service in London, found her profile on LinkedIn, liked what he saw and contacted her for an interview.

At the time, Hoole was happily working away as head of public relations for PayPal. “Kevin was not only able to see my profile – a kind of online CV – and the kind of experience I had, but also something more powerful – recommendations by people I've worked with, and people that have worked for me,” Hoole explains. “The fact I was an entirely passive candidate made no difference – he could see there were other professionals that vouched for me before we even met.”

And that's the power of LinkedIn in a nutshell: the ability to connect to thousands of other like-minded, expert professionals in order to network, gain expert knowledge, advertise and recruit. And its members just keep growing. Current membership stands at 27 million worldwide, with a new user joining every two seconds. In the UK alone, there are 1.5 million users, while in Europe there are 6.5 million. Growth is organic – membership is fuelled by users inviting others they know to join the site (most of it is free). So far, its main marketing technique has been word-of-mouth.