A Professional’s Guide to the New LinkedIn

This is the third in a series of pieces on the new LinkedIn from guest blogger Laura Rhodes.  In part one, she gave us an introduction to LinkedIn and why you should be there. In part two, she concentrated on the LinkedIn benefits for nonprofit professionals. Laura is the founder of Third Sector Consulting, an agency specializing in prospect research and grant writing for nonprofits.

LinkedIn has changed a lot in the 10 years since it was founded.  And it just got a whole lot better.

If you’re one of the people who has yet to embrace the power of LinkedIn, there has never been a better time to join.  And, if you’re one of the more than 225 million people who is already on the world’s largest professional networking site, you’re going to like it more than before. Here’s your personal guide to the new LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is about relationships.  Yes, it can be used to prospect for new customers and to help nonprofit fundraisers raise more money, but aren’t those things really about relationships, too?

LinkedIn has always made it easy for you to connect with people, then stored that information in your own contact list.  Names, numbers, emails, bios.  Everything you need, right?  Wrong!

Introducing LinkedIn Contacts:  a powerful relationship management system and a better way to stay connected.

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Now, on your home page, LinkedIn will notify you which of your contacts have a new job, are celebrating a work anniversary or having a birthday.  Just click the image to offer your congratulations and let them know that you are thinking of them.screen 2

Formerly, your contacts were presented in alphabetical order.  Now, you can choose from six different sort  filters.  The default is “Recent conversation,” so it’s easier than ever to follow up with the people you’ve talked to most recently.screen-3

Another nice sort filter is “Lost touch.” This is a great way to see who you might not have spoken to in a while, so you can reach out and say hello.

Along with the addition of “Recent conversation” as a sort filter, your most recent conversation with a Contact displays on a new Relationship tab, whenever you view their profile.  This is just another way that LinkedIn is making it easy for you to remember your last conversation when reaching out to your contacts.screen-4

You’ll also notice that there are new ways for you to

  • add personal Notes about your contact (e.g. husband is Bill, likes gardening)
  • set daily, weekly, monthly or recurring Reminders to help you remember to follow up
  • make notes about when, where and How You Met

One additional feature, Tag, was formerly available only to premium members.  Now you can create up to 50 tags and use them to categorize your contacts (e.g. Vendor, 2013 Trade Show, Major Gift Prospect).

Important:  Your relationship notes, reminders and tags are visible only to you.

Depending on how your privacy settings are set, you have had the option to see who has viewed your profile.  When you get a notification and don’t recognize that person, why not view their profile?  Look for a connection or reason that you might want to invite them to join your network.  And, when they accept your invitation, you can start building a brand new relationship.screen 5

Again, if your privacy settings show your name and photo when you view someone’s profile, then they will receive a notification as shown above.  Now, a new feature is that LinkedIn records and displays this data on your profile, making it easier for you to reach out to the people whose profiles you have visited most recently.screen 6

These are just a few of the features that will be available in the new LinkedIn Contacts.  The changes have not been rolled out to all users yet.  If you would like to be added to the wait list, login to your LinkedIn account and go to


If you’re new to LinkedIn, try this four-step plan to get started on LinkedIn.

If you are already there, take a look at these 21 ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile.

Then, when you see the new changes in your profile, try these 9 steps for getting started with LinkedIn Contacts.

Now you’re ready.  Get out there!  Connect with the professional people you know, find and meet some new ones, and make the most of your LinkedIn relationships.

2010-Headshot-Rhodes, LauraLaura Rhodes is the founder of Third Sector Consulting, a nonprofit grant consulting firm in Bozeman, Montana and is a Strategy Partner with CKSyme Media Group.  Before her career in prospect research and grant writing, Laura was a program officer with the American Express corporate foundation.  In that role, she was the company liaison to hundreds of regional nonprofits.  Laura understands the value of making new connections and building lasting relationships.  She also believes that every nonprofit should continually be thinking about ways to reach out and connect with its past, present and future supporters.  You can reach her at or invite her to connect on LinkedIn.