LinkedIn has made several changes in recent months, including beefing up its contact features, profile options, and online content.
Available on the LinkedIn app as well as desktop versions, Contacts syncs contacts from G-mail, Outlook, iPhone, and calendars and maintains them all in one place on the website.
As well as uploading, you can download an Excel copy of your entire contact database from the site. Past conversations and meetings you have participated in are saved in your contacts profile, but only you can see them.
You can search for your connections and contacts on a handy database, and a "hidden" tab will tell you what contacts you haven't yet added.
Those using the paid-for version of LinkedIn can get access to a profile organizer, which helps keep track of profiles. Profiles can be annotated and organized into folders.
LinkedIn has also updated its personalized news service. The Today feature is displayed on your home page, above everyone's updates. LinkedIn Today features news items and comments from "influencers" – famous or influential people who provide exclusive content for LinkedIn. Contributors include President Obama, Pete Cashmore, and Richard Branson.
The Your News tab collects news based on your interests, which you configure when setting up your profile. The Influencers tab will show news from the influencers you follow, or you can choose more by viewing the All Influencers tab.
All Channels displays the topics you can "follow" using Twitter terminology. The selection is somewhat limited at the moment and offers little of specific interest for accountants aside from general topics, such as the economy, social media, business travel, law, and government.
Users can now use a variety of media to create their professional portfolios; for example, by uploading PowerPoint presentations, slideshows, pictures, podcasts, documents, and videos. Accountants who already post these types of media on their websites can put the material and examples of their work on their LinkedIn profile for prospective clients and business associates to see.
To post content, click the paperclip on the right side of your Share box on the LinkedIn home page and upload images or files. To attach a video or other content hosted elsewhere on the web, paste the URL into the Share box and it will be added to your update.
LinkedIn Search also has been improved, bringing up companies, groups, and individuals – even when you look for a certain skill. For example, searching for "accountant" in a specific city will return a number of local accountants, accompanied by a drill-down search function on the left-hand side of the screen, which can be filtered by company size, level of seniority, interests, and years of experience. However, the enhanced search tools are only available to LinkedIn premium account holders and are probably most useful for HR and recruitment professionals.
Security on the site has been beefed up with two-step verification, which asks you to enter a code sent to your mobile when you first access the site from a new device. In applying this control, LinkedIn is following the examples of Twitter and Google after the series of high-profile account compromises.
LinkedIn Events were retired a few months ago and have gone the same way as RSS feeds in groups for posting content. These web apps have been closed down, according to LinkedIn, to "simplify" the website.
You can now also tag other users in comments a la Twitter and Facebook.
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This article was previously published on our sister site, AccountingWEB.co.uk.