There’s a veritable hidden treasure trove of functionality that is tucked away on LinkedIn behind a rather innocuous looking arrow head. You may have missed it on your way round LinkedIn, perhaps ignored it as irrelevant or stumbled across it by accident without necessarily taking too much notice of what it contained there.
Of course you may already be an avid user of what’s contained there … though I hope you will still find elements here of interest.
The “arrow head” in question sits on everyone’s Personal Profile page next to the main button (Connect / Send a message / Send Inmail) in the top part of the profile. What it contains will vary, depending on the relationship that you have with that person – so what you see there for your 1st level connections differs from that of your 2nd and 3rd, and certainly from those further removed. You have one on your profile visible just to you as well!
The one below, for instance, is what you will see if you are already to connected to the person.
I thought that I’d try to make this quite functional but “skimmable” (or even “dip in-able” if you prefer) so I’ve created a little outline of what they do and what they might offer you.
Anyway, in an attempt to still be as structured as possible, I’ve decided to outline the individual menu items below and I’ll highlight where they appear at the same time – just for clarity, these will be:
Y – You (yes, you have one on your own profile as well you know!)
1st – 1st level or Direct Connections, whom you are already connected to
2nd – 2nd level or Connections of your Connections
3rd – 3rd level Connections, people who are separated by three degrees & people beyond this once you have managed to open up their profiles
View Recent Activity [Y, 1st, 2nd, 3rd]
This is very much “does what it says on the tin” territory – it provides access to a list of what people have shared, liked and published on LinkedIn over the past 2 weeks (or 4 weeks in the case of Published posts). This is hugely valuable information that can massively help us to engage with people and understand better the elements that are of importance to them. It’s a real pity that it’s somewhat hidden away here but I guess at least they’ve put it right at the top of drop down menu.
Get Introduced [2nd]
You may still see this depending on the interface you have but it appears that it will soon disappear as LinkedIn’s recent changes to the Messaging system seem to have also led to its demise. In case it makes a return or still appears for you, it allows you to request an introduction to someone from a common connection – you get the opportunity to send a message forwarded to a potential contact by one of your connections who knows them.
Follow [2nd, 3rd]
If you’d prefer not to connect with someone but nonetheless you are interested in the articles they publish and their other activity, then you can opt to “Follow” them instead. You should only find this on profiles of the people you are not connected to. Why? Because when you connect to someone, you are automatically made a follower as well. With this, you will then receive notifications of the articles that they publish and updates that they like or share will also appear on the newsfeed on your homepage.
Save to Contacts [2nd, 3rd]
This is a great little function on LinkedIn which allows you to build lists of people that you are not connected to you that you can sort and filter as you require. You can save a 2nd level connection in this way as a “Contact” (3rd level connections as well if you are a premium member) and then add notes to help you connect and engage with them further if you require. Great for building target lists as you find people’s profiles that appeal but you want to follow up with later. You will find them now listed in your “Connections” via the main menu. You can also click on the “Star” symbol in the bar just below their photo for the same result.
Save to PDF [Y, 1st, 2nd, 3rd]
This option automatically creates and then saves a pdf copy of the profile that you are looking at which you can then forward to colleagues (as a person of interest) or maintain / integrate with your own CRM system. It gives an additional backup option of your own as well if you feel that you need to keep a copy. The document itself contains a basic format but nevertheless does deliver all of the key information that you might want. Hopefully they’ll will at some point add in the paragraph breaks – being worked on apparently!
Share Profile [1st, 2nd, 3rd]
There are occasions when you would like to make a colleague aware of someone whose profile could be of interest to them and hopefully also occasions when you would like to put two people in touch with each other. The “Share Profile” option allows you to simply create a short message and adds a link back to the profile page you have been looking at – it will sometimes balk at giving you full visibility of the profile if you are not closely enough connected, so just use one of the various workarounds that exist to open that up, should that happen.
Block or Report [1st, 2nd, 3rd]
There are going to be people, as there are anywhere, who you simply don’t wish to deal with or who have been offensive in some way. You’ve got a couple of options to respond formally to this – you can “Report” them, which essentially sends a formal complaint to LinkedIn about them or, in more extreme circumstances, you can “Block” them altogether. If you block them, all communication between the two of you will be removed and neither person will be able to see the other’s profile or locate them via the search. Be aware that they will still be able to see you on Google unless you turn off access to your “Public Profile” access as well.
Connect [3rd (& beyond)]
A recent change to the profile template means that the option to connect with someone who is a 3rd Level connection has now been moved into this drop down menu rather than appearing as a big button as it does for 2nd level connections. (No conspiracy theories, please!) Equally, when you finally stray outside of your 3 levels of connection, the “connect” option also disappears and is moved to an item in the pull down menu. Clicking on it still takes you through to the default connect options and allows you to proceed from there.
Remove Connection [1st]
If you are connected to someone and no longer wish to be then you can remove the connection in two different ways and one of these will be found at the bottom of the menu structure – the other is to go into your Connections area in the main menu, locate them and then click on ‘more’ which will reveal the option to “Remove Connection”. It will ask you to confirm that you wish to go ahead them and then disconnect – they won’t be informed by the way, in case you are of a sensitive nature.
Suggest an Update [1st]
If you are interested in using the system to suggest a change to someone’s profile then you have a link for that as well. Suggest an update, takes you through to the messaging system on LinkedIn and allows you to send across your thoughts – again this is something reserved for your 1st level connections only and won’t appear elsewhere – little used I would suggest.
You can only recommend people that you are connected to, but this is one of the most positive ways in which you can show your appreciation on LinkedIn for someone else’s value to you. This link will take you to the start point of the process and walk you through the information that is required allowing you to leave a written recommendation for someone.
Request a Recommendation [Y]
Taking the recommendation thing the other way around, on your own profile you can also initiate a request for someone to recommend here … the formal way is to go to your “Edit Profile” page, scroll down to the Recommendations area and click on “Ask for a Recommendation”. The menu route seems infinitely easier it seems to me and after all recommendations are really useful! 🙂
Create profile in another language [Y]
A fabulous feature for those people doing business internationally is that you can create your profile in multiple languages. If you want to create these then from your own profile select this option and follow the instructions by choosing the relevant language and going from there. Thankfully it doesn’t translate it for you (I’ve seen the mess that online translation can cause) so you can either take the plunge yourself or get the professionals in!
Manage Public Profile Settings [Y]
Finally an additional route through to the page where you can control which parts of your LinkedIn profile are visible to those people who have found you via Google (disclaimer: other Search Engines are available 😉 ) out on the web. You can decide on certain elements being visible or you can turn it off altogether … and don’t forget you can customise your page name to make it funky and personal too if you wish.
Well, you made it to the end – congratulations! If I’ve missed some or there have been new additions, then let me know in the comments and I’ll try to keep them updated.