Smartphones and Social Media Vol. 2 – LinkedIn

September 15, 2010
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This post is a continuation of a short series of posts that detail how the world of social media and your “career toolbox” have merged together on the Smartphone. In the first edition in this series, I spoke at length about Twitter and how I use my Smartphone to keep me connected. The next application that I would like to speak about is LinkedIn.

As you may know, LinkedIn is an amazing tool to keep you networked with friends, colleagues, family, as well as a great way to expand your network. Without a doubt, LinkedIn is the first social media site that I recommend that students or any job seeker use to start their job search and to develop their professional network. With over 75 million members (as of 9/6/10) representing over 200 countries, LinkedIn is a great way to connect with professionals in a broad range of occupations.

One of the terms I have used for LinkedIn is that it is your “Visual Rolodex.” Not only do you have access to people’s contact information, but your LinkedIn app may help you find information about a person regarding:

  • Work history
  • Education
  • Related groups
  • Common connections

Can you see yourself in either of the below scenarios?

Imagine that you are getting set to meet someone for an interview or even an informational interview. You realize that while you did your research on the company, you have little information on the person that you are interviewing with. Luckily, you are 15 minutes early to your meeting and you research the person via your LinkedIn app on your phone and find some common talking points.

In another scenario, you have just met a great networking contact randomly at your local coffee shop and you would like to connect via LinkedIn. Rather than go home and anguish over how long to wait to ask to connect, how your invitation message should be crafted, and other netiquette issues – you simply take your phone out of your pocket and ask to connect right then and there.

The pros of the LinkedIn Smartphone app are the following:

  • Twelve short cut icons to areas such as your inbox, status updates, invitations, etc.
  • Ability to get updates on your network on the fly
  • “In person” function which is similar to the “Bump Iphone app” which allows you to connect and transfer information with someone instantly
  • Ability to sync LinkedIn info to your iPhone contact list

Here are several cons of the LinkedIn Smartphone app:

  • Ability to update but not edit
  • No access to company pages for research
  • No access to “Questions and Answers” section

The LinkedIn app for the iPhone is a great database to mine information on your existing contacts. This is great for finding out information about specific people, but not companies. The app is wonderful for updating your connections about what you are doing, but beware if you make a mistake as little is available for you to edit on your phone. This must be done on your PC. The newest version of the LinkedIn for iPhone saw a more sleek interface and faster speed. All in all, this app is free and can help you get information on your network; it’s not perfect, but it is helpful.

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