Things I Think Linkedin Should Change
I have been a faithful member of Linkedin for the last 12 years. What now appears to be a lifetime on a social network. I have seen them make leaps and bounds from where they first started to where they are now.
I have tried premium (think it favours recruiters more than entrepreneurs), I have been active in a number of groups and I am a big fan of the publishing platform Pulse for creating a platform for articles like mine, but I think it could do things a bit better. This is a bit of a long read so buckle in.
So let me list what I like first before adding suggestions.
1) Love the profile page. Although it is kind of CVish (guess that is intentional) I love the fact you can embed video, slides and photo under each job description.
2) Advanced Search. I used to do loads of Boolean (advanced) searches of Linkedin from Google. For me the advanced tool does the trick when I am searching for people or content across Linkedin and am too lazy.
3) Testimonials. Love that this is a feature, which when used genuinely, can help to give social proof for people browsing your profile.
Linkedin has been good to me and continues to be a source of new business leads and strengthening of my network. That said I think it could improve in some areas. So here goes in no particular idea.
My primary salvo is aimed at growing the new wave of users to the platform that can see Linkedin as the go to space for career development. As a speaker my most popular keynote is about finding the work you love. I extol the virtues of Linkedin to graduates who are keen to build a solid network of contacts and explore a working world that doesn’t need nepotism to succeed. To whit, a number of students, from a certain university in London, connect with me on Linkedin each year based on a video I did about five years ago!
I’m gonna be brutal. The education feature sucks. Graduates I speak to here in the UK think it doesn’t serve a purpose. Undergraduates too. It’s boring and in a world where the visual dominates the millenial social graph, it looks like the UX has been designed by a couple of bored men and women who have no idea what Snapchat even is. I digress.
For me there are so many missed opportunities in this space so let me list a few that I think Linkedin could benefit from if they thought about it, especially given that so much of its revenue is linked to hiring.
- Career Explorer. Imagine in your profile if you could identify what things you would like to do. Essentially what they have tried to do in field of study explorer in the education feature. You list or map out what kinds of sectors, industries and skill sets you are keen on and the explorer identifies jobs, people and knowledge/training to that map.
- Mentor Feature. Mentoring is a big deal for many professionals whether looking to climb a ladder or seek advice on building a business. How powerful would it be if it were a straightforward process to identify mentors or mentees in your network without having to search titles.
- Learning. Linda.com is a great online learning feature but there is nothing that will pull me to the feature. If I was able to identify what kind of courses I am interested in to enhance my career linked to my career explorer that would be grand. I know this kind of sits in the premium feature but there is nothing on a basic plan to even signpost me to the possibility of this feature. A missed opportunity methinks.
- Referrals. With all the data Linkedin has surely there must be a way of being able to create alerts for hiring or business opportunities of people or organisations within your sector. Again they should be features probably in my newsfeed or updates on my home page under the people you may know feature, or even on the MyNetwork feature on the mobile app which could alert me to flagging it to people within my network. I would care more about that than some random strangers birthday or how long they have worked at a company.
- Industry Stats. This may be a feature already but imagine if on your profile you have (premium or otherwise) a dashboard of your industry showing average wages, career paths, hiring trends, opportunities and connections within your network. Surely machine learning can figure that out no?
Nearly all of the other social networks clearly alert you of the depth of your connections.
Why is it that I can see I have 500+ people in my network but have to go out of my main page to see actually how many I have? Surely it is a simple algorithm
And why pray tell would I have to pay premium for to see who has viewed my profile? I still don’t see the logic in that. Either allow users to prevent themselves from being identified, without the silly blank profile pic, and just have a list of those who have viewed your profile in a small grid.
Whilst I applaud the tags feature for grouping connections, I think it would be great to have a list/tag not only of your live connections but those who you would love to reach out and connect with at some stage. Kind of like an extension of the follow button without connecting yet.
My final point on this would be to restrict what connections recommend you for. The amount of times I have had some connections recommend me for something which has nothing to do with what I do!
I honestly think that Linkedin miss a trick by not having a prominent events feature or calendar feature. It is a network after all. Why they removed this feature years ago is beyond me and even if they didn’t want to maintain it why not link the API with say Meetup, Eventbrite or those other communities? And not just in the status update but on the home page or just searchable across the board and being able to identify if people in your network are attending such events.
That Twitter (Periscope) and Facebook (Live) allows users to be able to broadcast live events through their platforms and this is not something on Linkedin puzzles me! Over 300 million professionals and no such feature. Wow!
For me this is the space that Linkedin would do best to improve. Firstly stop trying to copy Facebook. That said I am speaking primarily from the perspective of a business owner looking for opportunities or stories related to what I am doing. Where are my News Feed preferences?
Imagine in my feed if I could tailor it for specific ads, events or prioritise which people in my network that I wanted to see first. Something that the UX of the largest social network does as standard. I appreciate that you can hide certain updates or unfollow certain people, but to have to do that on an individual basis is tiresome and I think there should be filters or room to be able to do that as a group filter.
The Linkedin Graph
Why oh why did Linkedin shut down the graph?
You would have thought that from a business perspective it would allow access to its API and charged a sensible fee to developers for doing this. GitHub, Facebook, Slack have all understood the power of integrating with other apps and allowing them to piggy back on them. Whether as I mentioned before it’s something like an events app, or sharing documents in a group.
As a business owner I am forever recommending others to manage group conversations through Slack. Firstly because of the seamless way it integrates with other business apps without making you feel like you had to reinvent the wheel. Why Linkedin no longer does this is baffling. Anyhoo.
Why it Matters
I think that Linkedin is a brilliant tool and is my primary business network. I think it could do better and as someone who recommends it to graduates and all other professionals I meet they could do with upping their game. There is a raft of individuals and users who could benefit from the depth of connections and knowledge on the platform with just a few tweaks in the user design interface. Not just for hiring (I haven’t even touched on how brilliant it could be a space to find cofounders for startups) but also for other aspects of business and organisational development, for the profit and non-profit sector.
Just some food for thought.
David McQueen is an international speaker, presentations coach and startup mentor. David is passionate about helping people to find success on their terms and to communicate effectively in pursuit of that success.