If you’re searching for a job, or think you may want to soon, I recommend taking a look at five upgrades and features LinkedIn has rolled out over the past few months. In general, they’re more like tweaks than major improvements. Nonetheless, they just might make it easier to land your next job or side gig. Here they are:
1. See connections of your LinkedIn connections. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here: Referrals are the single best way to land a job these days. And the best referrals are likely to come from your network. Now, LinkedIn has made it easier to expand your network with a “Connections of” filter that lets you see your connections’ connections. (This feature is still being rolled out, but should be universally available soon.)
To use the “Connections of” filter, go to your LinkedIn home page and click on “See Connections” in the right-side bar. Then, choose the “Connections of” filter and start typing in people in your LinkedIn network whose connections you want to see. Once you identify some interesting ones, circle back to your original connections and, if appropriate, ask if they are willing to make introductions for you.
One caveat: If you don’t want others to see your connections, you can change your settings so they remain private. Here’s how.
2. Streamline your LinkedIn notifications. You know those LinkedIn notifications that pop up when it’s time to wish a colleague a happy birthday or extend congratulations on a promotion or work anniversary? They can serve as helpful reminders to reach out to your connections, start conversations and strengthen your relationships. But as your LinkedIn network grows, the volume of notifications can be overwhelming.
That’s why I like LinkedIn’s new customized notifications tab, located at the top of your home page. It gives you full control over your notifications. Now, you can simply mute or turn off specific notifications you no longer want to receive (such as a not-very-close connection’s birthday). You can also unfollow LinkedIn connections so you won’t need to see their irritating political posts or silly personal updates, while still remaining connected to them.
3. Get quick information about a LinkedIn user with the hover feature. Have you ever wanted to check someone out on LinkedIn but hesitated to click on his or her profile because you didn’t want to appear like a stalker? (Fess up parents of dating-age children!) The hover feature lets you learn a bit more about someone who pops up in your LinkedIn feed before deciding whether to click through for more information. Your LinkedIn feed is the section on your home page where you see things like updates from your network and recommended content.
When you hover over a photo or name in your feed, you’ll now see the person’s complete LinkedIn headline and the number of connections you share, along with a few of those names. It’s not a whole lot of info, but it is enough to help you decide if you’d like to learn more about the person. And it’s a handy way to quickly find out about someone before responding to a LinkedIn comment or message from him or her.
4. Give your LinkedIn profile photo a makeover. According to LinkedIn’s data, LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 times more profile views, nine times more connection requests and 36 times more messages than those without photos. It’s clear that a photo isn’t just for show.
So if you want to attract more attention from recruiters and employers on LinkedIn, you don’t just need a photo, it helps to have a good one. A professional-looking photo will signal that you are approachable, trustworthy and likeable; a bad one can scare people away.
LinkedIn’s new editing and filter features make it easier to enhance your profile photo, even if you can’t afford to hire a pro. It won’t erase your eye bags or wrinkles (darn!), but the lighting and brightness filters can help make your image appear more vibrant, attractive and perhaps even a tad more youthful.
To edit your photo, go to your LinkedIn home page, click on your profile photo and then — once on your profile home page — select the edit pencil icon. You can then crop, brighten and resize your photo to your heart’s content.
5. Jazz up your LinkedIn posts with multiple photos. Posting quality content on LinkedIn can help establish you as a thought leader in your field and drive more recruiters to your profile. To attract the most views, you should be using images in these posts, just as is with social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. According to LinkedIn’s data, a post with images receives up to 94 percent more total views than a text-only post.
LinkedIn now lets you include up to nine images per post. With the new multi-photo feature, you have lots of ways to showcase your accomplishments — you can, for instance, post photos of a recent industry conference you chaired or highlight different features of a product you just brought to market.
Of course, just because you can post multiple images, doesn’t mean you always should. One high-quality photo is better than six sub-par images. So, only choose those images that add to your story and reflect your professional brand.
Coming Soon, Maybe
Finally, one LinkedIn feature that’s not-yet-ready-for-primetime, but still worth a mention. LinkedIn is testing a free mentoring service that matches LinkedIn members with professionals who can give them useful career advice. It’s currently in limited launch mode in San Francisco and Australia and expected to roll out to other members in coming months.
If LinkedIn ultimately offers the mentoring service everywhere, I think it could prove a nice way for boomers and Gen Xers to share their knowledge and build relationships with younger people outside their normal spheres of influence. And it could help people considering a career switch, too.
To stay updated on this feature, as well as other LinkedIn updates and news, subscribe to the LinkedIn blog.
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