Inspired by another Mashable article I read this morning, this post exposes some features about LinkedIn that you may not have known about. In addition, I’ll offer some tips on how to improve your existing profile and optimize your use of the networking site effectively.
1- LinkedIn is great for conducting a job search. Of course Craigslist is still an option, or in the case of an internship, websites like InternSushi and InternQueen are also great resources for beginning a search. As for me specifically, Cornell offers a job connection website as well–filled with exclusive opportunities for it’s students. All this being said, LinkedIn is another great job search engine to add to your list. Whether you get scouted by a Headhunter, reconnect with an old classmate or utilize the Jobs section of the site specifically, opportunities are endless.
2-LinkedIn statistics are your friend. Network Statistics are relevant to your specific professional connections and help you find out which industries most of your friends, colleagues and classmates are in, as well as which geographic areas they represent the most.
3- Take the Skills and Expertise section of your profile seriously. While on a paper resume it’s sensical to leave out the obvious “skills” such as Microsoft Office (Who doesn’t know how to use that these days?), on LinkedIn it’s helpful to include skills as simple as “creative writing” and “public speaking.” These skills are labeled as clickable links (think hashtags on Twitter) so employers looking for particular criteria can search for people who list the skills they desire in their staff. Another reason I personally enjoy the Skills & Expertise feature is because the “More” tab of LinkedIn offers a global skills database. Not only can I see what other skills are comparable to the ones I have listed on my page (This is great for getting more ideas. I may not have thought of something I did as a “skill” but an employer does!) but it also displays a percentage next to every skill. Green stats = good stats. This means that your area(s) of expertise are becoming more & more important, as well as raising the bar in terms of competition. For example, “Hootsuite” is growing by 81% at present. It’s the 84th highest growing skill on the site, and clicking on the skill specifically offers several options. #1) I can see related skills and their comparable growth (maybe the competitors- i.e. TweetDeck- fare better) #2) I can find and join groups of other professionals with this skill #3) I can find Related Areas (In this case, Hootsuite is a web-exclusive, working wonders across the globe. But for something more specific like Computer Graphics, Silicone Valley pops up as the top location for this expertise.)
4-You can, and should, customize your newsfeed. While it’s great to see what current connections are up to, the “LinkedIn Today” feature lets you tailor your newsfeed to what interests you specifically. Interested in PR and Online Media? Then, follow those industries! The top stories will be featured on your news stream. You can also opt in to the email service, so instead of logging on, these updates can come straight to your email.
5- Try out LinkedIn Labs. I personally had no idea what this was until reading Mashable’s article this morning. It appears to be a separate website from LinkedIn, and these labs require your permission before accessing your LinkedIn information. However, as long as you choose to approve specific apps, they can be quite informative and entertaining. Apps include everything from a Resume Builder to WordCloud and a search bar for Google Chrome. Here’s two graphics from my experience with LinkedIn Labs. The first, a timeline of my friends & experiences (that doesn’t quite look the same as a still image) and the latter, a web of my network connections.