LinkedIn recently rolled out the largest redesign of their desktop platform in the site's history.
After realizing that more and more users were accessing LinkedIn via the mobile app, the company made significant changes to streamline the desktop version of the site to make it more consistent with the mobile app experience. Here are some of the key changes you'll need to know about as a job seeker:
1. Minimized Profile Summary
The Summary section has always been a key piece of LinkedIn profile real estate. In the previous version of LinkedIn, your Summary offered 2,000 characters front and center to introduce yourself. Today, only two lines of text are visible by default, and the rest is hidden behind a prompt to “see more.” While people who are really interested in you may click to see more, this change puts much more emphasis on the first few sentences of your Summary section. Get your key messages—anything that you feel is essential to your professional brand, or that will quickly capture the attention of a recruiter—into the first lines of your Summary.
2. More Emphasis on Your Current Experience
Descriptions of your previous positions in the Experience section no longer display by default. Now, your most recent position will display in full, but older roles require the viewer to click to see the full description. Like your Summary, LinkedIn is shifting the focus to the top, emphasizing your most recent experience. You’ll want to be sure that you have a description in place for your current or most recent role, and that it reflects the skills and expertise that are relevant to what you’re currently pursuing. Take advantage of the spotlight on this most recent position by adding multimedia samples of your work here.
Even though descriptions of older positions no longer display by default, it's still worth your time to describe those roles. Interested recruiters and connections will likely take the time to see what information you’ve shared, and the keywords you use to describe each experience can help lead them to your profile in a search.
3. New Relevance for Skills and Endorsements
We've been waiting awhile for LinkedIn to make the Skills and Endorsements feature more relevant, and this recent update may actually make it useful. Here are the changes you need to know about:
- Viewers will now only see your top three skills by default. To see more, they'll need to click to "view more." Your top three skills are ranked automatically by LinkedIn based on the number of endorsements you have—but you can rearrange the list manually. Just click the edit icon and drag to reorder your skills.
- LinkedIn will help you seek endorsements for the skills you list first: "Tip: check that your skills are listed in order of the strengths you want to highlight and we’ll do the rest by targeting suggestions for those top skills." If you want to build awareness for one of your less-endorsed skills, try putting it near the top of your list.
- Viewers will now see the most relevant endorsements first. One of the banes of the Skills feature has always been the indiscriminate endorsement algorithm—it was too easy for people who didn't know you well to endorse you for skills you didn't have or care about. Now, not only will LinkedIn help you seek out more relevant endorsements, the platform will also display the most relevant endorsements to people viewing your profile. Rather than just show the total count of how many people have clicked to endorse you for a skill, LinkedIn will feature the endorsements you've received from people recognized for that skill, and endorsements from mutual connections and colleagues.
4. Making New Connections is Easier
Inviting others to connect is now much simpler. LinkedIn used to require you to justify how you knew someone before inviting them to connect. Did you work together? Did you go to school together? Are you friends? That process was often a hindrance to trying to connect with new people outside of your immediate network. In the new version of the site, the process is much simpler. When you click the “Connect” button on someone’s profile, you’re now given two options: “Send now” or “Add a note.” Selecting “Send now” will send a boilerplate invitation to connect, while choosing “Add a note” will give you 300 characters to personalize the invitation. We recommend always adding a note to provide some context to who you are and why you’d like to connect. This is an opportunity to be a bit more polite and engaging in your outreach, and increases the chances your invitation to connect will be accepted.
5. More Intuitive Recommendations
Recommendations have been relocated and simplified. The process of requesting a recommendation on LinkedIn used to be buried within profile settings, and was much more focused on the specific time and place in which you worked with someone. Now it’s simpler and more intuitive. To request a recommendation, simply go to the profile of the person you’d like to have recommend you (you do need to already be directly connected) and click the “…” icon in the top right of their profile page. From the drop-down menu, choose “Request a recommendation.” You can then specify your relationship and how you know each other, followed by a blank text box in which you can personalize the request. Recommendations used to display directly below the roles for which you were recommended, but now they are simply gathered at the bottom of your profile under “Recommendations,” and are no longer organized by company.
6. New Covert Job Search Mode
Social media is a powerful tool in today's job search, but it can be tricky to wield when you're currently employed. You know you need to be more visible on LinkedIn—but not so visible that it's obvious to your boss that you're on the market. What's a savvy job seeker to do? Switch on LinkedIn's new Open Candidates mode, which allows you to privately signal to recruiters that you're open to new opportunities. (While you're at it, update your Privacy settings to toggle off notifications to your network about changes you make to your profile, and optimize your LinkedIn profile for your job search.)
7. Get Competitive Salary Intel
Once you've networked your way to a new job offer, use the new LinkedIn Salary tool to negotiate competitive compensation. With over 460 million users, LinkedIn has amassed a lot of data on careers today. The new Salary tool allows you to search by job title and location to benchmark salaries by industry, company size, years of experience, and education level.
While LinkedIn has rolled out some helpful new features for job seekers, the platform redesign does require making some changes to your profile. Now is a great time to update your profile and get ahead of the curve for 2017.