You probably have a profile on LinkedIn (in fact, until recently, you may have been receiving a whole lot of email from them!). You’ve connected with your colleagues and friends, you’ve endorsed their skills and have been endorsed yourself, and you may have searched and applied for a job or two. But LinkedIn has a lot more to offer.
The website launched as a hybrid job-listing/professional social network in 2002, but has been making leaps and bounds since then, surpassing 300 million global users last year. The company has also acquired several other companies and entered into partnerships to expand its services and professional development content. Here’s a breakdown of the most recent additions to their offerings to help you make the most of your account.
LinkedIn began offering blog posts by influencers—experts and thought leaders, including President Obama—back in 2012. Members have been able to share blog posts with their own networks and engage with other users in forums for some time as well. But in February 2014, the site-wide, long-form publishing feature was made available to all members.
By publishing articles on LinkedIn, users can highlight their expertise and contribute that expertise to the community. Users can find articles relevant to their current job, their job search, or career trajectory. It’s a great way for job seekers to add some substance to their profiles, and for companies to offer an inside perspective on their office cultures or unique approaches. And, when used thoughtfully, it can help a company generate buzz and establish credibility in its industry. The publishing feature even has built-in analytics to track the reach of your post.
In early August, LinkedIn added publishing capability in Portuguese, increasing the worldwide accessibility of this feature. German and French are coming soon.
Another one of LinkedIn’s many content resources: the SlideShare presentation sharing feature. SlideShare was acquired by LinkedIn in 2012 (not exactly “new” news, but definitely noteworthy). The goal was to “help professionals be more effective and productive through the content they create and share on LinkedIn.” With SlideShare, you can share the slides of a presentation online as you would any other content.
This feature provides valuable information and education resources to users—for instance, you can view the slides of a presentation that was given a conference thousands of miles away. It also gives users and companies an intuitive tool for repurposing and sharing their content with the vast network of LinkedIn users. View the SlideShare (what else?) about the acquisition and using SlideShare here.
Similar to TED Talks, LinkedIn’s Speaker Series brings insightful lectures and panel discussions by experts from many fields right to your laptop. These lectures range in topic from glimpses inside specific companies’ business philosophies to personal development to social justice to entrepreneurship.
Something to Look Forward to: Lynda.com Integration
LinkedIn purchased online professional development company lynda.com in April of this year. It’s not yet clear what changes and additional services this acquisition might bring for LinkedIn users. But at the time of the merger, LinkedIn VP of Product Ryan Roslansky wrote in a blog post: “We get so excited about the possibilities that could come from the integration of lynda.com and LinkedIn. Imagine being a job seeker and being able to instantly know what skills are needed for the available jobs in a desired city, like Denver, and then to be prompted to take the relevant and accredited course to help you acquire this skill. Or doing a search on SlideShare to learn about integrated marketing and then to be prompted with a lynda.com course on the same subject.” LinkedIn is currently offering its users a free ten-day lynda.com trial.
One goal of the lynda.com acquisition is to create the first-ever Economic Graph, a worldwide map of job opportunities, colleges and other educational institutions, and job-seekers. With this network, LinkedIn will be able to provide users not only with information on the skills needed to get a specific job, but also information on where to get the skills to get the job—including lynda.com courses. In this way LinkedIn hopes to create economic opportunity for everyone and improve the global economy. Learn more about the company’s plans in this video.
Rework America Connected
With mapping for the Economic Graph now underway, LinkedIn and the Markle Foundation have formed a partnership called Rework America Connected to implement the data collected in two test cities: Denver and Phoenix. Rework America Connected matches a job seeker with middle-skill jobs, then identifies the skills and training the seeker needs to be a great candidate for a specific job and provides a range of online learning programs.
LinkedIn has also started using the Economic Graph data to identify locations around the world with skill gaps, then, working with governmental and economic partners, offering local professional development opportunities.
LinkedIn For Good
In addition to job search and recruiting tools, LinkedIn offers ways for volunteers to connect with opportunities. Users who have indicated their interest in volunteering now number over four million! Volunteering is good karma...and in a survey LinkedIn conducted prior to launching this feature, volunteer work was ranked just as valuable as paid work by many members, including hiring managers.
LinkedIn itself also pays it forward by offering grants to empower professional “transformation” and various grants to aid nonprofits. They’ve partnered with the VA to help veterans transition back into the workforce, allowing them to simultaneously search for job opportunities with the VA’s registry and on LinkedIn. And LinkedIn’s blog has an ongoing series spotlighting users’ causes and offering tips for making a social impact.
With all of these offerings (and many more), LinkedIn has come a long, long way from where it started. Why not explore one of these features today to help bulk up your profile?
Which feature of LinkedIn have you found most helpful in building your professional network? Let us know in the comments below!