LinkedIn has introduced several new updates to their site recently, includingthe "Company Follow" tool, another that matches users to job openings and a number of new sharing options. But if you're looking to add a bit of pizzazz to your profile, or hope to catch the eye of a hiring manager, consider exploring LinkedIn's Applications. These add-ons make your profile dynamic and interesting, says Nathan Kievman, owner of the LinkedIn group Linked Strategies and host of weekly LinkedIn webinars. "Profiles [can be] otherwise boring and static without applications," he says.
Kievman recommends that every LinkedIn user should add at least one application to their profile—he suggests Amazon's reading list—, but keep the total to no more than five to avoid cluttering your space.
To access LinkedIn's applications, select "More..." from LinkedIn's navigation bar and choose "Application Directory." Note that for each application you choose, you're able to control the privacy settings, so be sure you update them appropriately.
Here's a look at five applications worth exploring.
1. Reading List by Amazon
With Amazon's Reading List application, you use a search tool to build a collection of books you're planning to read, are reading right now and have read. You have three lists of books you can view with this application: one from people in your network, one from connections in your industry and one detailing updates from across LinkedIn.
[Want more LinkedIn tips and tricks? Check out a collection here.]
If you like a particular person's reading list, you can follow it. Likewise, others can follow your reading list. This application is great for discovering books recommended by people in your field, as well as finding out which books should be on your radar.
If you maintain a blog on WordPress, this application synchs your posts automatically with your LinkedIn profile. This app displays your avatar and also lets you filter your posts—if you don't want to share every entry with your LinkedIn connections—by using a special LinkedIn tag. As with sharing your tweets on LinkedIn, be wary of which posts you share and how often you do it.
3. SlideShare Presentations
If you have a SlideShare.net account, you can post your presentations and documents directly to your LinkedIn profile to share with your connections. (You can also sign up for an account via LinkedIn's website). With this app, you can view "Featured" presentations, search webinars and click through the most downloaded presentations. You can also check out a list of the presentations that your connections have uploaded.
The Events application, via a box that's added to your profile, shows what events people your network are attending and helps you find events recommended for you based on your industry and job function. You can also view the most popular events, search for events and create new ones. This application is great for making connections prior to attending a conference, or following up.
5. Company Buzz
The Company Buzz tool aggregates mentions of a company from Twitter, helping you discover relevant trends and comments about your current employer or a target employer. You can customize and modify the topics to watch, monitor trends and display charts that track activity.