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7 Things You Need to Know About LinkedIn's New Interface

Arnie Fertig

LinkedIn continues to roll out its newest desktop version, and like it or not, if you haven't been "upgraded" to the new interface, it will be coming your way soon.

Some people question why they changed something that was working just fine. Others complain they now are required to pay for what was free, or pay more just to keep some of the things they liked, as features continue to migrate to higher and higher levels of plans. Premium users complain some features have gone away completely, even though they had been paying for them.

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Many longtime LinkedIn users who were quite happy until recently now hope for another social media site to emerge to compete with the giant of business networking. Until some meaningful competition shows up, however, here are some pointers to help you adjust to the new LinkedIn desktop interface.

What's where in the navigation bar? The old navigation bar features and menus are largely present, but many are in different places. For example, the old Home, My Network and Jobs tabs are still found at the top of the main page. But your Profile has been relocated to the "Me" drop-down menu under your picture. And Interests has been relocated to either the "More" or "Work" drop-down, depending on your membership level.

If you've relied on LinkedIn to find alumni from colleges or universities you've attended, you may be surprised to see that this is nowhere to be found on the top of the main page. However, it is still around if you go to: www.linkedin.com/alumni.

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Hidden advanced search. You could click on "advanced search" right next to the main search box at the top of the home page in the old LinkedIn. Now, in order to do an advanced search, simply click on the magnifying glass icon inside the search box, and it opens up. You'll then be able to select a search based on People, Jobs, Posts, Companies, Groups or Schools on the top menu, and along the right side of the page you can utilize many (but not all) of the old standby search filters.

Building your network. LinkedIn continues to send mixed messages about how you are to build your network. On one hand, you are supposed to connect only with those people you know, but on the other hand it no longer asks how you know someone when you are sending an invite to link up, and it no longer gives you the option of adding a personal message when you hit "connect" to someone in its list of "People You May Know."

And, while you can still decline to accept an invite, the only option is to simply decline. The "report invite as spam" option is gone. You can still go out of your way to report a spam invite, but without the convenient button, everyone knows that the likelihood of you doing so is minimal. There is an unmistakable unspoken message: "Go ahead and link up with anyone you choose!"

Notifications. This has become something of a "good news, bad news" story. The good news is that they now have their own page, and it is easy to scroll through them. LinkedIn makes a point of letting you know when your first-degree connections begin a new job, enjoy a work anniversary or have a birthday. These are all great excuses to reach out and wish people well and begin conversations. When you express your desire to know more about what they've been up to, you'll likely get the same question in return, and then you are poised to turn a simple notification into a real dialogue.

The bad news is that notifications keep popping up even after you've seen or acted upon them. And, they appear to be random.

[See: 7 Ways to Crush a Phone Interview.]

Improved postings. Up to this point, after you made a post, you could either delete it or copy its link to share. Now, you have the option to go back and edit it anytime. But you'll have to click on the three dots at the top right of the post to reveal the menu, which allows you to delete or edit your text, no matter how long it has been live.

Improved messaging. The interface for messaging has been refreshed, and is now cleaner and more inviting.

Less information. When you are viewing a third-degree connection, you can no longer see who would be able to connect you to him or her.

There are numerous other cosmetic and functional changes in the new LinkedIn. But once you master the new interface, you'll be well on your way to maintaining the old functionality you had. For the time being, LinkedIn remains the primary way of connecting to recruiters, researching target companies and learning about the people you may interview and ultimately work with in your next company.

Happy hunting!

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