5 Tips for Using LinkedIn's New Features

February 28, 2017

LinkedIn recently rolled out several new important updates. These include changes to its profile setting, search function, tracking metrics, and messaging. Below is a summary of these updates, along with tips for how best to deal with and adapt to them.

1. Cleaner Navigation Menu

LinkedIn's new navigation menu makes it easier to find what you need. My Network, Jobs, Messaging, and Notifications are now all listed at the top menu bar, making them easy to find. Meanwhile, the lesser used but equally as valuable functions (such as Learning, Groups, Profinder, Salary, Lookup, Slideshare, and Post a Job) are now more easily found in a drop down "More" tab, which is right next to the most used functions just listed.

2. Streamlined Profile Section

The new LinkedIn profile now has fewer sections (the redundant sections have all been removed), and each section label is clearer with respect to which section it depicts. The following are the sections that remain in the profile: Work Experience, Education, Volunteer Experience, Skills, Publications, Certifications, Courses, Projects, Honors & Awards, Patents, Test Scores, Languages, and Organizations. That said, the two most important things to know about the new profile section are: (a) the Advice for Contacting section is gone, so you will want to include your contact details in the summary, and (b) the sections can't be rearranged in your profile, so factor this in when you're writing your profile to ensure that you draw the reader's eye to the sections you want them to see.

3. Goodbye, Free Advanced Search

The Advanced Search feature is no longer available for free users (this was my favorite feature, so I will miss it). And now, the search platform differs even more between free and paid memberships. The free membership uses a Boolean search term element in a search box, which is similar to searching on a search engine like Bing. Just type in the search term(s) you wish to use and then you can view the search results for that term for People, Jobs, Posts, Companies, Groups, or Schools. And then, for People, you can search within your connections based on their location, current company, past company, industry, profile, language, nonprofit interests, and education.

However, you'll have to upgrade to LinkedIn Recruiter or Sales Navigator to get access to the following search parameters: years of experience, groups, function, seniority level, interested in, company size, and when joined.  When you click on Jobs, you will also be given an opportunity to further filter your results. For most jobseekers or casual users of LinkedIn, this will not be a hardship. But it's a change to be noted, especially if you often used parameters like group, function, seniority level, etc. If you're a recruiter or sales person who used these parameters in a free account, you'll need to upgrade to one of the two memberships cited above to gain access to these search parameters going forward.

4. Tracking Your Progress & Effectiveness 

The "Who Viewed Your Profile" stats as well as your post and article activity stats are still there. These are helpful, so I was happy to see these features remain. The "Strengthen Your Profile" function also still exists, which helps users quite a bit. I was also happy to see this stay. However, the ranking of profiles among your connections has been removed. Personally, I didn't pay attention to it, but I know people who did use it as a gauge for the effectiveness of their profile and activity. Now, users will have to look at "activity" to gauge their profile effectiveness.

5. No More Free InMails & Messaging

Free InMails no longer exist. They're now only part of a paid LinkedIn membership, and the amount of InMails you receive are based on the membership level you invest in. It ranges from three InMails to 30 InMails per month, depending on the membership option you choose. If someone still wants to contact people as a free member, if the contact you want to reach is working but doesn't have contact details listed in the summary, you can research the email format and email the person directly. This makes for a little more work, but it can help you stay at a free membership, if that’s your goal. Messaging now exists on LinkedIn similar to DMing on Twitter or communicating on Facebook Messenger. You can also still message group members for free, which will help you not need InMails.

In addition to these five big changes, there are a bunch of other, smaller updates. LinkedIn’s Help section has many of the "before and afters" covered, so that's a great place to start if you want to learn how to do what you used to do. Just go to "LinkedIn Help" and type into the search field what you used to do. That's how I relearned much of what I used to do.

by Lisa Rangel

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