3 LinkedIn features that you aren't using enough of.
This is a guest post by Donna Sweidan. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.
There are a few things we know for sure:
- The world of work has irreversibly changed
- job search is no fun
- networking is the foundation of your career success and…
- LinkedIn is now as fundamental to a job search as a resume ever was
So where does this leave you if LinkedIn is always evolving, you’re ready to hustle, or you are still employed and need to be discrete about a job search?
For better or worse, the LinkedIn interface and its features are always evolving, and it’s just not that intuitive to use. Like many other social media tools, there are just so many bells and whistles it’s hard to keep up with them.
So what’s a frustrated job seeker (or career changer) to do?
Well, you have two options: one, become an active and proactive user of the site or, two, follow those that are.
Nothing gives me greater pleasure than sharing some of the most hidden features of LinkedIn. It’s like revealing hidden treasure, so please let me take you on my tour of what’s new, hot and hidden on LinkedIn, so you too, can start to feel that thrill of what it’s like to be found on LinkedIn by a recruiter, or to reach the 500 connection mark, or maybe finally be able to make that connection with the mentor you have been seeking out.
What’s New on LinkedIn
Let’s face it, being a good networker is hard for the majority of people, and most of us need a little nudge in that direction– LinkedIn to the rescue. Hot off the press, is their revamped Contacts section. What I used to love about the contacts section was their hidden TAGS feature, which few job seekers knew about. Now they have expanded it and have incorporated so much more.
Your Contact section has become a live tool that can be activated like so many wonderful online calendars to remind you to reach out to important people in your network.
WOW! Now that is not only New, but also hot! I won’t take another excuse for lack of networking now that this is available.
Action Step: Don’t see it yet? Click into your Contacts section (now found in the NETWORK drop down menu) and activate the new “LinkedIn Contacts” page and it’s all systems go!
As you start to grow your network, as I know you are so enthusiastically doing, don’t forget to note how/ where you met each new contact, and to group people via the Tags tool. This way, when you follow up, you have a point of reference, so that they other person won’t forget where they know you from, or worse, where you know them from, particularly when you need them.
The Tagging tool is a very helpful feature if you want to target an email towards a specific group of people. It will save you a lot of time in the future, when your network is too big to tame.
What’s Hot: LinkedIn Today
The obvious answer to this would be “because LinkedIn Today is where you find the Influencers”, and of course that would be partially correct because they are “hot” right now, but actually that is not why I chose them.
The answer here is the concept of Knowledge-Powered Networking. We know that at the core of successful career management is a robust networking strategy –not always an easy task to maintain. With the help of LinkedIn and every other social media source, leaders in virtually every field are online sharing their ideas. At the heart of LinkedIn Today is such content, which makes it easier to learn, engage and connect.
The benefits of following key influencers in your field, are immeasurable, from the knowledge you will gain, to the knowledge that you can then go on to share you're your colleagues, whether it’s at a conference or right there, on LinkedIn. In fact, according to a LinkedIn survey, professionals who share articles or content at least 1x week are 10x more likely to be contacted by recruiter.
Action Step: Go to the Interests drop down menu to find the influencers section. To start, click on All Channels to determine and select the areas you are interested in. Granted, we live in an information overload era and it behooves you to be very selective –only chose 1-2 to start – so you don’t find yourself overwhelmed. Select influencers or topics that are very closely aligned with you current interests or career desires, and make a diligent and full-hearted effort to read them consistently.
Hopefully, you will soon find yourself inspired enough to engage the author in a discussion about his/ her article and you will share the posting with your network. Just by virtue of engaging in this seemingly passive activity, you might find that the information you share could be incredibly helpful to someone else, or it could lead to someone noticing your profile for the first time – the possibilities are endless. Who knows, you might even be inspired enough to write your own article and see it published in the Influencer section. Crazier things have happened. Never having thought of myself as a writer seven years ago, I was inspired by the blogs I was reading by colleagues and here I am all these years later telling you, it can be done.
Get ready for when LinkedIn unrolls its blog platform for everyone because you’re up next.
What’s Hidden: Skills and Expertise
Ironically, one of the most important tools on LinkedIn is currently hidden, and you need to find it now! There are many secret nooks and crannies on LinkedIn, but one my favorites is the Skills and Expertise section. It seems like it has been in Beta forever, since it’s prior location on the More drop down menu. They have since moved it “underground” but it’s still there growing, in the belly of LinkedIn, and you will be greatly rewarded with a goldmine of data when you find it.
According to LinkedIn, in the Skills & Expertise section you’ll “Discover the skills you need to succeed. Learn what you need to know from the thousands of hot, up-and-coming skills we're tracking,” and they are not joking. When you type in any skill that you are interested in, you will gain access to an array of valuable information whether for your job search, career change, or promising new start-up.
Every person knows that a resume should be packed with keywords if it’s going to be found via an Applicant tracking system. The same goes for LinkedIn. If you want your profile to be found, fill it with all the right keywords and language, and the Skills & Expertise section is, literally, the key to the terminology needed to flesh out your profile with the most cutting-edge skills and jargon.
Basically EVERY skill listed on LinkedIn is listed in this database and each description includes a list of cities where that skill is found, relevant LinkedIn groups, companies that use that skill, a long list of related skills, and other professionals that share that expertise. One last tiny detail that you might miss, but which I find interesting, is to watch the growth of that skill, year over year. Granted, this information is limited to only those of us who are active on the site, but it can be very useful, if you are trying to make a career decision based on what skills are in demand – or not. For example, the keyword for Nutritional Counseling is up 6% Y/Y, while the field of Financial Analysis is down 3%. Don’t miss the little green (or red) arrow.
In case you were curious as to what the one of the more popular skill is right now, it appears that skills and expertise related to the IPHONE are UP 50%! Now, there is a hot career path, at least for now.
Action Step: Depending on where you are with your LinkedIn activity and how you use it will determine where you go in this section but, the first thing you want to do is bookmark the page http://www.linkedin.com/skills
If you are looking to be found quicker on LinkedIn, or in online marketing terms, increase your SEO (Search Engine optimization), now is the time to study the skills you have on your profile, and their relative growth compared to last year as well as the related skills that you might have ignored. You can include up to 50 skills, and don’t be shy. This is critical to creating a robust LinkedIn Profile. You are also setting yourself up to receive endorsements which are equally important in helping you get found for that next coveted position. (Whether you agree, or disagree with the endorsement feature, they are here to stay, so you might as well use them to your advantage, and let them help you get found on LinkedIn!)
Looking to grow your career? Identify potential growth areas, or the more specialized or less common skills field. Look for a thought leader or one of the other featured professionals highlighted on this page and start a dialogue with them. You might surprise yourself and find a mentor in your field, or even better, a pretty cool job.
These three features are just a few of the hidden gems waiting to be mined and manipulated on LinkedIn, because landing your next job, need not be a miracle. Start digging now, and the gold might not be as far away as you think.
About the Author
Donna Sweidan is a Career Coach and LinkedIn & Twitter expert, offering a unique blend of psychological counseling and concrete coaching that takes her clients on a journey from soul search to social media. She is the author of “You are the Boss, How to Create Income Security in a World without Job Security”. She speaks and trains on topics such as career change, how to become your own boss, and social media for job search and career management. Join her at www.careerfolk.com, Facebook.com/careerfolk and of course on Linkedin.com/in/donnasweidan.
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