Hoping to find a job or increase your salary after the holidays? Then you’ll want to get familiar with the latest changes on LinkedIn now.
Over the last few months, the business and employment-oriented online social networking service has added three new free features that could help accelerate your career goals in the coming year. Here’s what they are, how they work and how they could help you:
Want to grab a recruiter’s attention? Open Candidates (the name has since changed to Shared Career Interests) makes it easy to privately signal recruiters that you’re open to job opportunities. It’s an especially handy tool when you’re not in active search mode, but still want to hear from recruiters about potentially interesting opportunities.
To get started, just go to the “Jobs” tab on your LinkedIn page, turn sharing “On” and complete brief information about the types of positions you’re interested in. Once the signal is activated, recruiters will see your profile marked as “open to new opportunities” and you’ll increase your chances of receiving relevant inquiries on a more regular basis. LinkedIn hides the Open Candidates signal from recruiters at your employer, as well as from affiliated company recruiters.
Once the signal is activated, you’ll increase your chances of receiving relevant recruiter inquiries on a more regular basis.
More than 1 million people have switched their LinkedIn settings to the Open Candidates option since the tool was launched in October. And Money magazine says Open Candidates users are, on average, getting twice the recruiting inquiries they did before.
Eager to earn more? It helps to know what your competition is getting paid. But finding reliable salary information is a tricky task. That’s why I was excited to test-drive LinkedIn Salary, which LinkedIn rolled out earlier this month.
In addition to providing information about salary, bonus and equity data for specific job titles (filtered according to variables such as years of experience, company size, geography and education level), LinkedIn Salary also offers insights into important questions like:
- Which cities offer the best salaries for this profession?
- Which industries pay the most for this job title?
- Does it pay to get a masters degree in this profession?
- Which companies are likely to pay the most for this position?
The tool sounds great, and in many ways it is. But there’s a big hitch: LinkedIn Salary requires you to share your compensation data unless you’re a Premium member. Otherwise, if you’re not currently earning a salary or don’t want to share yours (LinkedIn assures users that figures provided will be immediately encrypted and remain private), this tool is a no-go.
I have two other reservations about LinkedIn Salary.
First, it’s still in the early stages of aggregating data from users, so the tool doesn’t yet have enough information to produce results for many job titles. Over time, this problem could disappear or at least shrink.
Second, crowdsourced data comes with inherent risks. It’s based on user input and not everyone will be honest or accurate reporting their salaries.
And even for those trying to be honest, providing the right data can be challenging. For example, my job title is technically “career coach,” but my income comes from a portfolio of activities — such as writing, speaking and book sales — that many other career coaches might not have. So should I self-identify as a career coach or as a writer or speaker? I’m not sure.
Salary analysis is an imperfect science at best. To help guard against errors, LinkedIn put in place a variety of accuracy detection systems, including cross-validation with additional sources of salary information such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, company spokesperson Sophie Sieck told me.
My hesitations aside, I think LinkedIn Salary holds tremendous promise. With LinkedIn’s unparalleled database (430 million+ users) and robust capabilities, it’s only a matter of time before this tool becomes the leader in the field.
And stay tuned: Sieck says LinkedIn is exploring ways to integrate LinkedIn Salary with the rest of your user experience (for instance, suggesting courses that might boost your earning potential).
Enhanced Employer Pages
LinkedIn’s revamped employer pages now make it easy (and even fun) to research employers and their jobs. Presently, the enhanced pages are an optional offering for employers, so not every business or nonprofit has one, though.
The new pages are organized around three key tabs: Overview (basic info about the company), Jobs and Life (company culture). Of course, you can always go directly to the employer’s site for this kind of stuff. But thanks to LinkedIn’s integrative capabilities, the new employer pages will give you insights that will be difficult to find elsewhere.
A few examples:
Under the “Jobs” tab, LinkedIn will automatically show job recommendations tailored to your LinkedIn profile. In this section, you’ll also find “Employee Insights,” which are colorful bar graphs that can help you determine if an employer is a good fit. The graphs provide quick bits of useful information including “Where we Work,” “Skills,” and “Languages Spoken by Employees.”
The “Life” tab provides an insider view of what it’s really like to work at the employer. Here, you’ll find articles, photos and videos, as well as profiles of key company leaders. In some cases, employees share their perspectives of what they enjoy most about their company culture. For example, on Google’s “Life” page, you’ll see articles written by employees with titles like, “So, how did you get here?” and “Get an Amazing Internship/Job Even After Being Rejected Hundreds of Times.”
Remember: having a strong LinkedIn profile is critical for a successful LinkedIn experience. So while you’re spending time on the site, take a few moments to update your LinkedIn profile with any accomplishments, skills or positions you earned during the past year.
Making small changes now will have a big impact on your marketability and visibility during the year ahead.
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