Whether you're unemployed or open to new job opportunities, there's really no reason not to take advantage of every LinkedIn feature. The entire site is designed to help you network professionally. The best part is that LinkedIn is dynamic. It's always changing to improve usability for job searchers and professionals. In fact, LinkedIn released three new features and enhancements to help you not only improve your professional profile but also cultivate a more robust professional network.
Why is networking important? Because most jobs are not advertised online. In a 2011 interview with NPR, Matt Youngquist, the president of Career Horizons, says: "At least 70 percent, if not 80 percent, of jobs are not published."
Job seekers, get ahead of the curve by taking advantage of these newest features. Why not take advantage before your competition does?
1. Maximize relationship building with LinkedIn Contacts. The recently launched LinkedIn Contacts tool's biggest perk is that you can bolster your network list by automatically merging all of your contacts from all walks of life: your address book, your various calendars and multiple email accounts.
As a job seeker, this is helpful because it may help you organize, grow and strengthen your connections and networking prospects.
Making the most of the LinkedIn Contacts tool is a great strategy because you never know when a distant colleague, professor or third-degree connection might have an opportunity for you on the horizon. It'll even pull up any e-paper trail of past conversations you've had.
2. Add "links or uploads" to plump up your visual online portfolio. Now, the summary section, experience and education section allow you to upload a photo or link to demonstrate any work that you'd like to highlight. So when employers receive your résumé and proceed to find you on LinkedIn, they can easily scan your LinkedIn profile and find some of the crème de la crème of your work. This is a huge plus for job seekers, because "one of the most impressive characteristics from a manager perspective is an employee who goes above and beyond their explicitly outlined job description," says Caroline Ghosn, Levo League's CEO and co-founder.
This new visual portfolio tool may help you tell future hiring managers how you've gone above and beyond in your expertise.
Get creative with this. Whether you're in finance or education (or any other industry in between), you can showcase your presentation on tech trends, fiscal predictions or products you've managed. Students or new grads might want to showcase relevant final presentations they've done in school.
3. Monitor the redesigned "Who's Viewed Your Profile" feature to create new connections. LinkedIn has also spruced up the "Who's Viewed Your Profile" feature, so that it's another avenue for you to strengthen your relationships with your existing network as well as brand new connections. Many times, people will view your profile if you view theirs (make sure your privacy setting allows them to see that you've visited). "Think of the people in positions like the one you aspire to. Join the groups that they are in," suggests Michael J. Stone, founder of BuildABetterWorkforce.com and an employee productivity expert.
You can now analyze the number of people who have arrived at your profile in the last month (or in the last three months for subscribed members). Plus, LinkedIn will tell you if you share any groups with the people who have viewed your profile, if their privacy settings allow it.
Ritika Trikha is a writer for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. Check out CareerBliss for millions of job listings, company reviews, and salary information.