LinkedIn has made a number of changes this year, some helpful, others not as much.
LinkedIn has reduced the number of Tabs at the top of your Home Page to Home, Profile, Network, Jobs and Interests. In addition to the familiar Connections and Add Connections choices you will also see Alumni. Connecting with fellow alums from the schools you attended is an easy way to start potentially valuable relationships.
Under Interests you will find Companies, Groups, Influencers and Education. Companies and Groups have not changed. Influencers are individuals viewed by LinkedIn as being influential in the professional community across a variety of industries. Currently there are about 220 Influencers. The blog posts by Influencers are part of LinkedIn’s strategy to encourage users to spend more time on the site by providing more relevant content.
The Education section is brand new and will be discussed further in the University Pages section below.
You can select the topics you want to follow such as leadership, social media, technology, social impact, entrepreneurship, professional women and many others. There are even some off-beat categories like “My Best Career Mistakes” and “Things I Carry”. LinkedIn aggregates articles by Influencers and top news stories in these categories and sends them to you in your news feed.
Who’s Viewed Your Profile
Many of us are naturally curious about who is looking at our Profile. Users of LinkedIn’s free service can see the last five people to view their Profile, whereas paid members can see the last 90 days of activity. Understand that viewers can choose to appear only by Industry and Title or as Anonymous when they look at your Profile.
In addition, you can see mutual connections and Groups shared by you and those viewing your Profile. LinkedIn also shows you keywords that your Profile appears under and the countries where viewers are located.
This is similar to the @Name feature in Facebook and Twitter and the +Name feature in Google+, you can mention a first degree Linkedin connection in a Status Update or Comment. If you are commenting on a discussion, you can also mention another participant in the discussion even if they are not a First Degree connection.
Search the connections of your First Degree connections by keyword
Though this feature has been available for several months, I’ll mention it because it can be a great time saver. LinkedIn has always enabled you to see all of the connections of your First Degree connections unless they chose to block this feature. Now, in addition to simply being able to view these connections, you can search them by keywords which is far more valuable than being limited to scrolling through hundreds of contacts looking for a few that may be of interest.
One of the newest features of LinkedIn is the University Page and a section under Interests devoted to Education. The minimum age to join LinkedIn is being lowered to 14 years so that high school students will be able to use it to research colleges for example. LinkedIn is taking extra measures to protect the privacy of this group.
The Education section will make it easier to research institutions of higher learning, get answers to questions and leverage alumni networks.
Please let us know what you think of these new features and which you find most useful.