LinkedIn used to be just another place to post your resume, but over the past couple of years it has evolved to be so much more. Most recently, LinkedIn rolled out enhanced functionality to its ‘Contacts’ section, adding the ability to keep track of conversations and interactions with your network, make notes about interactions with contacts, set reminders to contact them in the future, tag them with customizable keywords and more. This is the type of sophisticated functionality found in today’s leading customer relationship management (CRM) programs! College students, recent graduates, and anyone on the job market today should definitely be using these new features to cultivate business relationships. Networking is key to finding a great job, and LinkedIn can definitely help in that regard. Here are ten ways that this recent enhancement can help aid today’s job hunters.
1) Keep Detailed Notes about Contacts
LinkedIn’s new “Relationship” tab within each Contact’s Profile allows you to make note of how you met the person as well as add other notes about that contact. This information is visible only to you and can be invaluable for keeping track of conversations you’ve had, making note if you promised to get someone your References, noting a person’s interests or hobbies to ask about in the future, making note of who introduced you or who else knows them, etc.
2) Set Reminders to Contact Connections
Also within the new “Relationship” tab, there’s an easy way to set up reminders within each person’s profile to get in touch with them as some point in the future. This would be a great way for job hunters to make sure that they touch base with recruiters periodically, stay on top of networking connections at a company or organization where they’d like to work, or get back to connections who asked for more information on their background, etc.
3) Tag Contacts
You can also tag contacts with keywords such as classmate, colleague, friend, favorite, etc. as well as create your own custom tags. I use these to tag colleagues in different associations such as LLAGNY or SLA-NY, etc. as well as in different fields of librarianship such as law, public, academic, etc. You can then easily click on a tag to see all those that you’ve categorized in that way. Job hunters can tag contacts with keywords such as recruiters, references, mentors, colleagues, etc.
4) Respond to Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Milestones
Just like on Facebook, LinkedIn will now prompt you to make contact with those in your network who have reached a milestone whether that is a birthday, work anniversary, new job, etc. I have found this to be one of the easiest ways to make contact with a connection, especially one that is merely an acquaintance. Those who are looking to acquire a position with a particular organization would be well-served by paying close attention to this so that they can be sure to say “Happy Birthday” or “Congratulations on your Work Anniversary” to those connections that already work there.
5) Keep Track of Emails
If you’ve been emailing your contacts on LinkedIn, those messages can now be viewed directly on their Profile page in the Relationship tab. This is incredibly useful, not only to remind you of what you last discussed with the person, but to save you the embarrassment of sending multiple emails asking about available position openings to the same person.
6) Sync Your Contacts from Other Applications
By clicking into “Settings” once in the Contacts interface, you can now sync up your contacts from many different applications such as Gmail, YahooMail, CardMunch, etc. This will then add your contacts to LinkedIn as live links that will be updated constantly – so if something changes in your address book in any of these programs, those details will be automatically updated in LinkedIn.
7) Use New Search Features
LinkedIn now allows an array of sorting and filtering options in its new search interface. You can sort through your contacts by many different options such as “Source” which will separate your contacts according to how they came into LinkedIn such as Gmail, etc. Sorting by Tag is also very useful. Being able to locate and quickly call up your network connections is crucial when looking for work. And it is even easier with this new feature which will let you, for example, sort by those contacts from CardMunch – the business card transcription app. Job hunters can sort by these criteria, or search by tag such as “recruiters” etc.
8) Filter by Location
One of the most useful filters in the new Contacts search interface is the one that enables you to sort your contacts according to location. If you’ve got an upcoming trip planned, why not make appointments with all of your contacts in that area? Job seekers can easily sort their contact list according to region using this new functionality.
9) Share Your Calendar Events
LinkedIn will enable you to sync your online calendars from Google, Yahoo, and Outlook and sharing your events with your connections. You will then be updated if one of your connections is attending the same event that you are. This could be great help for job hunters who are curious as to who will be in attendance at various professional networking mixers.
10) Get the Mobile App
Take your contacts with you on the go via the LinkedIn Contacts app which is available for the iPhone. Job seekers will find this to be a quick and easy way to make contact with their connections while out and about. Say a quick “Congratulations” or “Happy Birthday”, view contacts in the news, act on your to-do lists, etc.