Arment Dietrich

A Letter to LinkedIn

By: Arment Dietrich | July 25, 2010 | 

Dear LinkedIn programmers,

We all know the purpose of LinkedIn is for business connections, either client prospects or job referrals, but I have an idea that can help boost LinkedIn to become more of an interactive Rolodex.

The other day I wanted to see if any of my connections or extended network were currently holding positions with digital or online marketing titles or if those duties were in their job descriptions for an interview I wanted to conduct.  So I went into my connections and tried searching.  I could search by name, industry, company, location, and recent activity, but I was unable to search by job functions.

Let’s say I am a small business owner who wanted to hire a firm to do their social media work.  I would like the ability to go into my connections, search for terms such as “social media” and see who in my network comes up.  I could search by marketing industry or do another search of public relations sorting through each profile looking for mentions social media, but maybe someone who listed themselves under the communication industry or even IT, who was more qualified, would not show up.

From a job searching standpoint, I’ve noticed a lot of these HR recruiters list openings they are trying to fill on their profile.  For someone looking for a job, wouldn’t it be great for them to go to their connections, select the industry HR, (bringing up their connections and extended network in HR), and then type in their desired job title under the search and see if anyone they know can help?

I am suggesting two things:

  1. Have a search option for titles and job descriptions
  2. Expand the search options to your network to increase engagement

I know you can upgrade your account to have the Profile Organizer, but let’s face it, we’re not all there yet.  That takes time and organization, two things most people don’t have.


Name: Molli Megasko
Industry: Marketing, communications, public relations
Company: Arment Dietrich, Inc.
Location: Greater New York and Chicago

Note to Spin Sucks readers, help me by “signing” this post offering changes you’d like LinkedIn to make.

  • Although I think your case (trying to get a referral) is legitimate, there are a lot of companies that have to worry about head hunters sweeping up their human talent. LinkedIn has done a really good job of preventing this sort of thing from happening in spite of the fact that their product is business networking.

    Steve Hill – Indianapolis, IN

    • Quite frankly, if I as a business owner am worried about a headhunter “stealing” my talent – I have bigger problems than search capability in LinkedIn.

      Just like in any other relationship, people can’t be stolen or swept up.

      The search functionality would be a simple integration. If these people are already in my network, its just helping me sort them better!

      • Exactly, and if you’re competitors are out there you should be too. It’s the love and hate relationship of social media. There are cons, but as Tammy points out, if they are in your network than they are open for connections. However, it would be different if I were to look up a competitor and search their clients. That could be a very real concern.

  • You make some really great points. In terms of what I’d like to see on LinkedIn – I’m not a big fan of search functions elsewhere.

    For example, I was searching the Answers section for questions relating to Twitter. Not only did LinkedIn automatically give me answers that were closed (I was looking to answer a question), but many of the questions had nothing to do with Twitter. Sure, you can hone down your results to just “open” questions, but you can’t sort by date, or the question’s overall topic. You have to go to the topic and search there. It’s just way more complicated than it needs to be. I love LinkedIn, I really do, it’s made me great contacts and gotten me business, but I can’t stand the interface! It’s like their trying to trick us 😉

    • I agree with you, Marian. I love LinkedIn, I just feel it needs some tweaks before I will be able to be successful with it.

  • Great post, Molli. Here’s a third suggestion: Allow business profiles to have applications. I love that I have the ability to have our blog and Twitter on my personal profile; but our business profile remains pretty basic, at this point. 🙂

    • I actually think that you can do that, Katie. I know you can include your blog roll in the news section, I don’t know about Twitter, but if you’re the admin to the group, you can set up your blog feed.

    • Absolutely Katie! Thanks for bringing that up.

    • Thanks, Molli and Starr. So, then I’m changing my request: I’d like the blog to be more prominent (at this point, Company news is in the lower right-hand corner) *and* I’d (still) like to have the ability to have our twitter feed on the company profile :).

      • Consider that added as well.

  • Jean Pickering

    Also – add back the news tab to Discussion Groups AND add a new events tab to the Discussion Groups.

    That would make the discussion groups better because then we do not need to sift through events and news articles to actually have discussions.

    Finally – STOP trying to mimic Facebook. Realize your niche and embrace it.

    • HAHA love the last line, that bugs me too. They should have never added a like button.

  • Searching by groups will help you properly connect to industry colleagues.

  • Great points here by everyone…I think the bottom line is all about being “user friendly”. I hope that LinkedIn takes your suggestions Molli and makes them a reality.

    Being a small business anything that can help both the prospective client and myself in terms of searches is a valuable and worthwhile investment of their time here. Cheers, Andy

  • These comments bring up a good point, has any ever “gotten anything” from LinkedIn? I’m not talking connections, I’m wondering if anyone has ever gotten a client or a job through LinkedIn?

    • Hey, Molli. Great post.

      LinkedIn has recently fixed a couple things that really bugged me (their search for names function was very lame for some time).

      So, far, I’ve had one lead come in through LI – certainly not a trend for me, but it was an excellent gig that spanned 18 months. The client found me through a mutual connection.

      • That’s great to hear! Let’s hope we can get these changes made and turn that one into a few.

  • Please add vanity urls for LinkedIn companies and groups to the letter. I also feel it is time for LinkedIn to increase the (in)famous 500+ Connections label to say 1000+ Connections.

    • Brent, those are great! Love both of those ideas. Consider them added.