If LinkedIn is an important part of establishing and maintaining your professional image, your professional brand—and it definitely should be!—then you may be among the millions of people on LinkedIn who, because of some significant changes recently made by the site, are confused, confounded, and, yes, perhaps even a little bit angry!
Some of LinkedIn’s changes can be viewed by most as quite positive, while other changes, not so much. In any case, if you would like a very comprehensive, detailed analysis of the changes, then I strongly encourage you to check out a five-part blog series by Wayne Breitbarth, author of The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. (The title of the blog series is “How to Optimize Your New LinkedIn Profile,” and here is the link to the blog: http://www.powerformula.net/blog/?p=2925)
In Part 1 of the series, Breitbarth examines the changes in what he refers to as “the top box,” of the LinkedIn Profile Page. Here are some of the key changes he highlights:
Some of the more positive changes
- Headline – Now features a larger font, making the headline not only more visible but gives it added importance as well.
- Summary of current/previous experience – Jobs not listed in the order you prefer? No problem. Now you can simply use the “up/down” arrows to reorder the list.
- Your Photo – Also featured in a larger size, making it, like your LinkedIn profile headline, more prominent and important.
- People You May Know – Now more conveniently located for easier access. Why? Because, as Breitbarth points out, “Connections are the ‘gas in the tank’ on LinkedIn.”
- Activity (Status Updates). This section has been elevated to a more prominent position, and your last several posts are now displayed. Connections have always been able to see your updates; now people outside your network, who may be checking you out, can also see them.
Some of the less positive changes
- Contact Info. This information is now harder to find. People now have to “click” on this section to access your information.
- Websites. This information is also harder to find, but it still remains only one of a few opportunities to include a hyperlink on the site.
Where Did All Those Neat Apps Go?!
In Part 2 of his blog series, Breitbarth focuses on one of the LinkedIn changes that has created quite a bit of consternation among users, the elimination of the neat apps section, where you previously were able to feature evidence of your expertise and credibility.
“Gone are the days of the really cool LinkedIn applications (SlideShare, Box.net files, Amazon Reading List, Google Presentations, etc.),” he says. “Lots of people were hopping mad about this elimination, but the news is not all bad.”
Replacing many of these applications is a new section called Your Professional Gallery. It’s here that you can now share hyperlinks to various media, e.g., video, images, documents, presentations, etc. Professional Gallery hyperlinks can also be placed in the Summary, Experience, and Education sections, Breitbarth points out.
“I like this much better than the old applications features,” he says, “because the hyperlink is displayed right in the applicable profile section.”
Breitbarth goes into greater detail about how to incorporate media in the key sections of your LinkedIn Profile, e.g., Summary, Job Experience, Education and Interests, in Part 3 of the series. He also points out a new feature that should please most site users: The ability to reorder (by using the “up/down” arrows when in the “Edit Profile” mode) sections on the page.
“Moving a section closer to the top of your profile will indicate greater importance and improve the likelihood that people will see it,” he says.
And Still More Changes Examined
In Part 4 Breitbarth goes on to examine some of the key changes made in the following profile sections:
- Recommendations – Now features a larger headline and photo of people who were your last two recommendations for each job and educational entry. Also, when looking at someone else’s profile, you can scroll over the name of the person who wrote a recommendation and invite him/her to connect with you, send a message or view his/her profile.
- Skills & Expertise – This is another change that has caused angst among some LinkedIn users, Breitbarth says. Endorsements can be received for each skill or area of expertise, but the most frequent endorsements will rise to the top of the list. That means you will want to focus on including only those skills that are currently most important to you.
- Groups – All your groups are listed in alphabetical order and the logos of the first seven groups will be prominently displayed, so you will want to be somewhat selective about the groups you choose to join, i.e., make sure the groups that you know are going to be in the “top seven” are groups you will want to most prominently feature.
- Following – You can follow various types of news and specific companies, and seven of each will be displayed on your profile. So, If you are following, say, competitor companies, their names and logos may appear in this section. If you don’t want to give competitors free publicity, you’ll need to follow a few more companies, in an attempt to get these companies to drop off your front page.
And Finally . . .
In the final part of the blog series, Part 5, Breitbarth focuses on how to capitalize on two new, key LinkedIn features: Searching Your Connection’s Database and In Common With . . .
“In my opinion, researching people and relationships and then using that knowledge to ‘warm up’ cold calls is one of the best ways to use LinkedIn,” he says. “This new feature takes that process to a whole new level.”
Breitbarth of course provides detailed instructions on how to make effective use of both of these new features.
Because of space limitations I have only hit on the major highlights of the new LinkedIn features. Breitbarth, of course, goes into extensive detail (and provides ample “screen shot” examples) in his blog series. So, if understanding all that’s new with LinkedIn is important to you, then take the time to check out his very informative, quite useful blog series.
Be watching for Skip’s new book in the “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets series of bestselling job-hunting books and publications, Career Stalled? How to Get Your Career Back in ‘High Gear’ and Land the Job You Deserve—Your Dream Job! TM Publication is scheduled for spring 2013.
Skip Freeman is the author of the international bestselling job hunting book “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever! (http://portal.sliderocket.com/BFDSG/Find-Your-Dream-Job) and is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The HTW Group (Hire to Win), an Atlanta, GA, Metropolitan Area Executive Search Firm. Specializing in the placement of sales, engineering, manufacturing and R&D professionals, he has developed powerful techniques that help companies hire the best and help the best get hired.