Thursday, January 28, 2010

3 LinkedIn Tools You Ought to Try

If you’re one of the more than 55-million people who use LinkedIn for professional networking, you may be familiar with popular features such as LinkedIn Groups, Company Profiles, and Job Search. But did you know that there are many more networking and research tools available to you?

Here are 3 of LinkedIn’s lesser-known features that you may want to try:

Reference Search: Want to learn more about a potential employee, employer, or business partner? Reference Search allows you to enter the names and years that a person worked for a particular company. LinkedIn will then show you which people in your network worked with your candidate during that time period so you can contact them for more information. (Note: You must upgrade to a paid account before you can use this feature.)

Productivity Tools: Build your network more efficiently using the Microsoft Outlook Toolbar, Browser Toolbar for IE or Firefox, mobile apps, widget for Lotus Notes, and other tools. You can quickly and easily search for people, stay connected to your network, sync LinkedIn to your address book, and more. These tools only take a moment to download, yet can help you save a lot of time in the long run.

Service Provider Directory: Looking for a web designer, attorney, personal trainer, or other service provider who does top-quality work? You can tap into the combined experience of LinkedIn’s members by searching in the Service Providers Directory. Profiles are listed by category, location, and total number of recommendations. A service provider doesn’t need to have a LinkedIn profile for you to submit a recommendation, you only need their name and email address.

(How can you make sure your own profile is included in the Service Provider Directory? If you fall under one of the predefined service provider categories, simply ask your clients to recommend your work. When a client posts a recommendation to your personal LinkedIn profile, you’ll automatically be added to the directory and, as you gain more endorsements, your rank will improve.)

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