Leveraging the “New” LinkedIn
LinkedIn is currently going through a large-scale update with the look, feel and functionality of the site – to help YOU interact with your network more effectively. Strangely enough, they are taking a stealth approach to these updates, similar to how Facebook rolls out changes, by not announcing every change as it happens and working out the kinks before the new look and feel is launched. So what does this mean for you? That you are no longer using all of the bells and whistles that LinkedIn has to offer.
What You Need to Know About the “New” LinkedIn
One of the most important changes that will greatly impact the usefulness of your profile, is the Endorsement feature. I have received several questions about Endorsements, so hopefully this will set the record straight.
Endorsements are different than recommendations (repeat that sentence). Essentially, the skills that you have entered into the Skills section of your profile or keywords that you have used throughout your profile, popup in a blue box when your connections view your profile. LinkedIn’s help button explains it like this: What skills and expertise does this person have? You can endorse your connections to give them recognition.
The “recognition” that the person gets from having you endorse their skills essentially says this to employers: “ I’ve seen that person using those skills before,” validating their experience.
This is fine and good, but why was this feature added and why do you need to leverage it better? Most people do not have explanatory job titles or extensive information included in their profile. And sometimes, your actual skill-set varies or expands beyond your job title experience. So this feature provides you a place to showcase additional skills you have without trying to squeeze in “Web Design” for an Accounting job. It also provides another way for recruiters to find you! Many times recruiters or hiring managers hop on LinkedIn and perform a keyword search for potential candidates, and your profile will come up if you have those specific skills entered on your profile, with endorsements adding more credibility and validation to your experience.
New Profile Design
LinkedIn has slowly been beta testing and rolling out a new design for you profile page. I was asked to change over and for some reason clicked “no thanks” or I’d tell you to go over to my page to check it out (I have no idea why I did that!). Anyway, it is very different looking. It arranges your profile more like an optimized webpage – there are more graphics (see “connection” diagram to the left), less text; your connections are positioned in a different way; and you have to showcase who you are with less.
Now is the time to update your head-shot before it becomes magnified on your profile and on the “connections in common” and “other people viewed” places on the page – your face will be out there. And with less space to go into depth on your new landing page, your copy (the words you use on your profile), needs to be optimized as well in order to be found and support your experience when going through the interview process.