If you’re on LinkedIn and even vaguely active on the professional social network, you will have noticed a spate of recent changes to the way it which it looks and works. Far apart from being only a site for job seekers and recruiters, LinkedIn has now morphed, successfully, into a mobile professional network of connections and content.

The recruitment heritage of LinkedIn is not lost, today the last reason to update your profile regularly should be because you are looking for a new job. If, on the other hand, someone is looking to recruit you, you better make sure that your profile constantly puts your best foot forward.

Not having a regularly updated, professional profile on LinkedIn is akin to not being around when the phone rings. It is so important, in fact, that it can help you grow.

The importance of content

The braintrust at LinkedIn realised a year or so ago that the network has to deliver connectivity value to members in addition to simply offering a place to upload your CV. Noticing the rise of Twitter, specifically, they saw that Twitter was increasingly being used as a link engine. This means thought leaders, writers and others were linking to their own and other interesting content and sharing it out via tweets.

LinkedIn had an agreement in place with Twitter to allow users to auto-share all tweets in their LinkedIn status updates. But earlier this year Twitter stopped allowing this. LinkedIn saw it as a great opportunity to motivate its users to share their own content with their networks and keep it within the LinkedIn ecosystem.

This sounds as if it could fail miserably, because who would go to the trouble of sharing all that? LinkedIn solved this conundrum by creating a magazine-type, metadata driven compendium of content, personalised via interests. The company launched it first via its new iPad app last December.

The results are amazing. The amount of quality content shared amongst fellow-professionals now makes LinkedIn one of the best sources of up to date, industry-related content. I would venture to say it’s now better than Twitter for this purpose.

Next came a new, also content-driven smartphone app to make a quick access visit to LinkedIn rewardable.

New profile

Now, very recently, LinkedIn launched its new profile product, both for individuals and companies. Immersed within the new profile is a screen-split design, with content on the left and personal widgets on the right.

In addition, it’s now extremely easy to recommend someone for a specific skill (given that the person has an updated profile with appropriate skills listed). Also, for a company’s products, followers can easily create a recommendation (given that the company page has been set up properly).

Helping you grow

The new LinkedIn mobile apps, profile, recommendation widgets and magazine style, personal content generation capability products can thus play an important role in helping you grow:

  • Regular profile updates can make you more visible to colleagues, clients, business friends and the web in general. Be found online, with purpose. List your projects, link to useable content, share your own content and you will show up in Google searches as the expert you are
  • LinkedIn is a targeted, focused audience for your own content, or to show others in your professional community what you find insightful via linked content
  • By recommending others for what you know they do well, they will recommend you for the same reason
  • Because LinkedIn is Facebook with purpose, using it properly shows real, personal results in a non-frivolous manner

So, ignore the new LinkedIn at your professional peril (but remember… no spamming!).