LinkedIn, I love you! Now here are a few ways you could be even better…

LinkedIn logo in a heartI live in LinkedIn. When doing sales, I am looking up information on prospects, including connections I might have to them, all day long.

At the moment I’m between jobs, and getting an introduction to the hiring managers and internal recruiters from connections that I have at a company is one of the best ways to draw positive attention to my candidacy. I also think that LinkedIn has the best job listings for me. (And I’m very pleasantly surprised at the number of phone and in-person meetings I’ve had with companies simply from responding to a job posting . Take heart, job hunters: even major companies actually look at the resumes that are submitted without internal recommendations attached.)

Nonetheless, I think there are a number of ways that the service could be improved. And I know LinkedIn listens to suggestions sometimes: it recently changed its Company pages in a small but very useful way so that the About information now shows at the top above Recent Updates; it had been below the updates and would keep scrolling out of site as more and more updates loaded in. I and others had expressed our frustration about the elusive About information through Twitter. Thank you for listening, LinkedIn!

Here are a few suggestions:

  • I would like to be able to customize the Updates (aka news feed) that I see to show news from connections.

Right now the news items shown are generic – “Severe Drought has U.S. West Fearing Worst” (NY Times) “A Brief History of ‘What Time is the Super Bowl?’” (The Atlantic), or the writings of “influencers”. I have lots of sources of news, but I come to LinkedIn for professional assistance with sales or, at the moment, a job search. So what I’d like is the option to just see the latest news about my connections, similar to what Newsle does, and about companies that I’m following.

(Also, the Update feed is a little buggy. It repeats items, shows things I’ve asked to not see, and shows items in random order even though I’ve asked for them ordered by most recent.)

  • Provide better Jobs analytics

When at least 10 people have applied for a job through LinkedIn it tells you how you rank compared to the others that have applied with a message such as, “You wouldn’t be in the top 50% of applicants for this job” or “You’d be in the top 25% of applicants for this job” or “top 10% of applicants”. I don’t think these are especially accurate. I recently was looking at a job listing for which LinkedIn said I was less qualified than half of the applicants. I thought that was unlikely; I seemed like a perfect match. So I submitted my resume and I guess the company agreed: they contacted me in less than an hour. On the other hand, I’ve applied for positions that LinkedIn thought I was more qualified than 90% of the other applicants and never heard a peep. So the value of this feature is…?

LinkedIn job rating

Job listings also have an estimated salary provide by PayScale “based on job-specific attributes, including industry, title, location, and other factors.” In conversations with companies I’ve found that these estimates can be wildly off. This is a good example: the salary range is posted right in the job listing but PayScale estimates that the job will pay half that.

LinkedIn salary estimator

  • LinkedIn has a “Jobs you may be interested in” feature that it shows to people all the time. I would like to be able to customize this by location, etc. A simple method would be that I could apply one of my “saved searches” for use in that.
  • LinkedIn recently made a change to people’s Profiles that diminishes them: it stopped showing recent updates from the person. I want people to see my recent updates, just as they can see what I’ve been posting on Twitter or Google+, etc., and I want to see theirs. It’s really useful background information in both sales and job hunting. Please bring that back!
  • It is odd that if I sort my Contacts by last name, women who have put their maiden name in parentheses between their first and last name display at the top of the last name listings, rather than where their current last name would have them, or even where their maiden name would. Choose one or the other last name, LinkedIn – I think the current one makes most sense – but putting them at the top is the least useful. In general I think that the Network section is less intuitive for a number of activities than it was before a major overhaul several months ago.

So those are a few things that would make LinkedIn even more useful for me. Nothing huge (well, the job listing analytics might be challenging). Like I said, I really like LinkedIn already.

How about you? How could LinkedIn be improved for you?

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