7 important LinkedIn features for savvy pros

The professionals’ go-to platform offers more than job-searching and recruiting possibilities. Check out what’s most relevant on the site to help meet your career goals.

LinkedIn sometimes seems like a forgotten social network.

Many professionals have profiles on the site, although only 22.6 percent are active each month. (LinkedIn has 467 million members, 106 monthly active, as of October 2016.)

The same report shows that LinkedIn generates 65 percent of its revenue through job recruitments activities, reinforcing the belief that LinkedIn is primarily for job seekers. (Ads and promoted content constitute 26 percent of revenue; premium subscriptions represent 17 percent.)

Jay Greene wrote in The Wall Street Journal that LinkedIn’s objective is to increase engagement with the site, which is why it has developed a rich complement of features. Here’s how to take advantage of them:

1. Job search (on the QT)

Many studies demonstrate that networking and internal hiring are more useful for recruitment than LinkedIn is. Still, LinkedIn recruiting revenue suggests that a lot of hiring happens through the platform. Yet as one LinkedIn aficionado points out: It is conspicuous when someone is looking for a new job, because few people spend time on LinkedIn unless they’re eyeing a career move.

LinkedIn just released a feature that enables you to signal that you are open to contact from recruiters and to set preferences for the industries and positions that you are open to pursuing.

What’s new about this? Unlike a typical job search or profile information, you can make this information incognito. (This means recruiters affiliated with your current employer wouldn’t be able to see it.) This is available on your Preferences page.

2. Mobile…everything

Sixty percent of LinkedIn’s traffic comes via mobile devices. This is consistent with many platforms, but somewhat counterintuitive given the demographics and utility of the service. In addition to rebuilding its mobile data structure, LinkedIn has a rich complement of standalone mobile apps:

Another tip to optimizing LinkedIn mobile is to sync your calendar with the LinkedIn app. The app will send you reminders when, for instance, you have a meeting with a contact. To activate this feature, open the app, go to “Add Connection,” and then enable “Sync Calendar.”

3. Courses (LinkedIn Learning)

You’ve probably heard about LinkedIn Learning, a library of professionally recorded courses on a range of topics. Though new for LinkedIn, this is an integration of the Lynda library (which LinkedIn acquired in 2015). It’s similar to online course offerings from Udemy, or free platforms EdX and Coursera, as well as Ragan Training.

LinkedIn Learning is free if you have Job Seeker, Business Plus or Executive subscriptions. This differs from the Lynda pricing model, which is a la carte with “regular” and “premium” levels.

4. Publishing

Distributed content is content that you post to a third-party platform, rather than to an owned property. Doing so depends largely on audience.

Say you have a small but segmented audience (your established and future contacts). Depending on how you choose to use LinkedIn, distributed content might be a worthwhile option. Jamie Mottram of USA Today writes that distributed content affords him greater reach and revenue opportunities because of the increased mobile upload times.

The first iteration of LinkedIn Publishing was a little clunky compared with WordPress, Blogger and other writing programs. Recently, however, LinkedIn made Publishing more streamlined and functional.

If publishing or repurposing content to your LinkedIn contacts or prospective employers makes sense, pursue this content option.

5. Groups

In a Huffington Post article, J.D. Gershbein says LinkedIn Group engagement is demonstrably down. However, Gershbein points out that there are still pockets of genuine engagement within LinkedIn Groups.

As with content, the determining factor of contributing is why you’re on LinkedIn. As a source for discussion about a particular topic, there are still rich communities to draw from on LinkedIn, which is similar to the less symmetrical audiences on Google+.

6. Rapportive

One of LinkedIn’s star acquisitions is Rapportive, the Chrome and Firefox extension that shows you a person’s LinkedIn profile when you’re writing emails in Gmail.

Of course, there are plenty of caveats, one being that you have to use Gmail and either Chrome or Firefox. In any event, it’s helpful to have the context of a LinkedIn snapshot when you’re drafting an email.

7. Slideshare

Speaking of LinkedIn’s acquisitions, Slideshare continues to be a smart way to make your presentations shareable. Not only does Slideshare offer a public cloud to store and share presentations (with versatile embedding options), but it also drives annual traffic of about 70 million users. Though this isn’t behemoth-level traffic (recall that LinkedIn has more than 100 million users per month), it is significant.

An additional aspect of Slideshare is its embedding function. Paul Bradshaw of Online Journalist Blog writes that embedding content might be as important as linking to add depth to a story.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Cision blog.

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