LinkedIn is currently rolling out what is being called the “new desktop experience.” Every two years or so, LinkedIn makes significant changes to the design and content of its website. The latest update — launched in late 2016/early 2017 — is designed to align the LinkedIn desktop experience with what users of the LinkedIn mobile app have seen for quite some time.
Ryan Roslansky, Vice President for Product at LinkedIn, said in a blog post in September 2016 that “this is the largest redesign since LinkedIn’s inception, and it’s the foundation for our future.”
One important thing to note is that every time LinkedIn rolls out a redesign, features are removed. This is the case with the “new desktop experience.” If you still have the “old” LinkedIn, take some time right now to backup your profile so that if you lose content in sections that are being removed, you can add that information back in.
You’ll know when you have the new look LinkedIn when you sign into your existing account. Not only will the main navigation bar look different, but LinkedIn will let you know your account has been updated to the new look. The rollout began in December 2016 and is expected to be completed by late Spring 2017 for all accounts.
The biggest change is how LinkedIn looks. The old navigation menu has been replaced with a more streamlined version. The old menu bar looked like this:
Old LinkedIn menu bar
The new menu bar looks like this:
New LinkedIn menu bar
The second biggest change is that some of the customization features have been removed — specifically, the ability to move around content within key sections (including Work Experience, Education, and Projects).
You used to be able to move one job position above another — great for jobseekers with two jobs at the same time — or reposition Projects in the order of importance (to you). You are no longer able to reposition items, except within the “Featured Skills & Endorsements” section.
The “Featured Skills & Endorsements” section allows the rearranging of items using a “Reorder” function. Click and drag the lines below “Reorder” to put the items in the order you want.
Skills & Endorsements section
The “Notify Your Network” setting has also changed significantly — that was the old name for the function that kept you from broadcasting profile changes to your network, which was a big alert that you may be preparing for a job search. That setting used to be right on the “Edit Profile” page, but now it’s three pages deep.
Here was how the old setting appeared:
Old “notify your network” setting toggle (used to be at lower right section of home page.)
Turning off global notification is now harder to find (it’s under “Privacy & Settings,” then click on “Privacy” and then “Sharing Profile Edits” and you’ll see the “on/off” switch — which I’m sure LinkedIn thinks is more descriptive than the old “Notify Your Network” yes/no).
Old OFF toggle switch for broadcasting activity
However, LinkedIn has also added it to the bottom of several of the input boxes — for example, in the “Experience” and “Education” sections.
Always use the setting “don’t update my network” – which is now located ‘3 clicks in’ to settings
But that actually makes it a bit more confusing. If you didn’t know there was a global setting for turning notifications off, you might accidentally be sending out notifications as you’re setting up your profile initially. ←–Be careful and go to settings right off the bat to verify you are not broadcasting all your activities. It’s getting to be more and more platforms leave your profile open by default so it is up to us to verify our own privacy level.
From a content standpoint, LinkedIn has severely reduced the new sections you can add to your profile.
Options for profile sections used to include:
• Work Experience
• Volunteering Experience
• Volunteering Opportunities
• Honors & Awards
• Test Scores
• Causes You Care About
• Supported Organizations
• Personal Details
• Advice for Contacting
Now the available profile sections are:
• Work Experience
• Volunteer Experience
• Honors & Awards
• Test Scores
Content that was previously in the sections that were removed simply disappears from the profile, so you need to go back and re-add information that has been stripped out (specifically, content that was in the “Causes You Care About” and “Supported Organizations” sections should be re-added into the “Volunteer Experience” section).
Another important section that was removed was “Advice for Contacting.” You should include your email address, phone numbers, and social media profile contacts at the bottom of your Summary. Doing this gives possible employment, recruiting, and other contacts a way to reach you outside of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has also removed the “Profile Strength” indicator and emphasis on profile completeness — which is odd, since according to LinkedIn, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. Now it’s more difficult to tell when your profile is “complete.”
Here was the old “Profile Strength” indicator:
Old profile strength indicator on home page
Another big change — not unexpected, and not really a feature of the “new desktop experience” — but definitely set in stone now — is the change to InMails. Free accounts used to get a limited number of free InMails. Not anymore. Free accounts receive zero InMail credits, and the number of InMail credits depends on the Premium level selected (Career level gets 3 InMails per month for $24.99, all the way up to Hiring — this level gets 30 InMails for $99.99 per month).
LinkedIn free membership level used to grant you some inMail credits. That has ended and only paid members can send inMails. However if you are in the same group as the person you wish to contact then you can message them from within the group but I would not abuse that trick, lest you find yourself removed from the group for spamming or annoying members.
However, one thing that hasn’t changed is that you can still Message fellow Group members directly (even if they are 2nd or 3rd degree contacts), and that will get you around the InMail requirement. This is a great tip for networking your way to hiring managers within your industry.
If you are a member of a LinkedIn Group with the person you’re trying to contact, you can directly send a Message instead of having to send an InMail. But you can only do it from within the Group. When you are within the Group, click on the member’s name and you will see a “Message” button.
You can still message members of your same group even if on a free plan
If, however, you just search for same person’s profile (outside the Group), you will see an “InMail” button instead. So if there is someone you want to connect with, first search your Groups and see if you are both members of the same Group.
InMail option available for free members from within groups
Speaking of Groups, the link to the Groups page is now harder to find. There used to be an Interests tab on the main menu, and Companies and Groups were under that.
Old groups menu location
Now, Groups are in the “More” section on the main navigation bar.
New location for groups
The main Search bar is now the “easiest” way to find Companies and Groups, but it’s definitely not as intuitive.
You can also use the direct URL for the Groups page:
Because the “More” tab includes things like “Learning” and “Post a Job,” most casual users are likely to overlook the “Groups” button there. There also appears to be several versions of the “More” tab:
More products available
More products available
This just further demonstrates that LinkedIn is continuing to evolve, even as they roll out the “new look” LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has made a big point of its “real-time messaging” feature that is part of the “new look” LinkedIn. It now functions more like Facebook Messenger than an email, but most jobseekers don’t keep LinkedIn open on their computers (unlike Facebook, which LinkedIn seems to be comparing itself to).
For Connections, LinkedIn no longer asks you to specify how you know the person (Colleague, Classmate, We’ve Done Business Together, Friend, Other, I Don’t Know [name]). This is what the connection request used to look like:
Old connection invite message
Now, if you click on the “Connect” button within the “People You May Know” section on the “My Network” page, it doesn’t give you the option of customizing the invite. It just sends it.
New connection request options
If you want the “Add a Note” section to customize the LinkedIn connection request (which is highly recommended), you need to click on the person’s LinkedIn profile and then click on the “Connect” button.
Connect button where you add a note
Once you click on “Connect,” it will open up a new box to customize your LinkedIn invitation.
Option to customize invitation to connect always advised
LinkedIn’s search capabilities for Free members have also been curtailed. You can search by your connections, location, current company, past company, industry, profile language, nonprofit interests, and schools. However, if you want to search by function, years of experience, and certain other criteria, you must upgrade to a LinkedIn Recruiter or Sales Navigator account.
Here are the specific search functions LinkedIn has removed from all but the Recruiter and Sales Navigator accounts:
• Years of Experience
• Seniority Level
• Interested In
• Company Size
• When Joined
For most jobseekers, that’s not a huge deal, those criteria can help you find recruiters and hiring managers. The old “Advanced Search” capabilities function is gone:
Old search function changed
Now, using the search box in the main navigation bar, you can “filter” your contacts (this is the new version of “Search”):
New people and company search
You’ll notice the mention of Premium level to access additional search functions.
There is also a strong emphasis on LinkedIn Publishing with the “new look.” If you’ve written an article recently, right on your home page, it tells you how many “Views of your article” you’ve received on your LinkedIn Publishing article. LinkedIn representatives announced recently that you will be able to search posts using the Search function sometime in the near future. They’re also spending a lot of money ($90 million, by one report) on LinkedIn Publishing — using human editors and algorithms to connect readers with relevant content.
Finally, while Introductions still appear to exist (at least in the Help documentation), LinkedIn is no longer emphasizing them, and the Help documentation on Introductions has been updated quite a bit recently as LinkedIn figures out if Introductions are going away permanently.
For example, the “Introductions — Overview” help page was recently updated:
Requesting an introduction
Speaking of the Help pages, a lot of the Help documentation is currently in the process of being updated and you will see by the dates the ones that have been updated and the ones that haven’t been updated yet.
Display order of skills endorsements
Consequently, there are still a lot of old, inaccurate Help pages still out there that refer to things the way they were before the “new desktop experience.” You can expect that this will continue as LinkedIn works to update and/or replace hundreds of Help pages.
One of the best ways to stay connected with what’s new with LinkedIn is to check out the LinkedIn Blog. You can find it here:
Follow LinkedIn Blog to stay informed about updates
So here is your to-do list:
• If you don’t yet have the “new look” LinkedIn, backup your existing LinkedIn profile so you don’t lose your information when your account is upgraded. Also, make sure your Work Experience and Education sections are in the order you want them to appear when the upgrade is made.
• If you do have the “new desktop experience” already, double-check your privacy settings. Go to “Privacy & Settings,” then click on “Privacy” and check each setting.
• Re-populate any information that may have been removed with the change to the “new look” — for example, putting your contact information at the bottom of the Summary section, or adding information to the “Volunteer Experience” section.
• Get familiar with where you can find your “Groups” now — either bookmark http://www.linkedin.com/Groups or explore the “More” tab on the main navigation menu.
• Try the “new look” LinkedIn search function on the main navigation menu. Type in a person’s name, company, or Group and explore the filter functions.