At this point, I’ve seen roughly 10 posts and a few videos explaining the differences between the old (or for some, current) LinkedIn user interface (UI) and the new and improved one. I hope this isn’t the 11th post you’ve seen on this topic.
Having played with the new UI – no, I don’t have it – I’ve found there are some very nice features and some disappointments. For this post, I’m going to focus on the profile.
My first thought is, be careful what you wish for. One nice thing about the new profile is it is slimmed down and more visual. However, there will be a learning curve as people try to locate the various sections of the new profile. Let’s start at the top.
1. The Summary
I was warned ahead of time that the summary section of the new profile is no longer titled “Summary.” Nor is it in the body of the profile; rather it’s in the snapshot area. (See photo above, section boxed in red). Furthermore, a visitor can only see the first two lines of this section. Therefore, it’s important that you utilize these two lines to grab the reader’s interest.
My only concern here is that visitors won’t realize that they need to click “see more” in order to, well, see more. Get used to clicking “See more,” as LinkedIn has done its best to condense the profile as much as it could.
I heard there was talk about removing the rich media areas (under “Summary,” in “Experience and Education”), but LinkedIn held off on that silly idea. Rich media is still there.
2. What About Those Three Dots and Contact and Personal Information?
The location of actions like removing connections, unfollowing, requesting, and writing recommendations will take some time for to get used to, but the information is nicely placed.
The same applies to the contact and personal info section, which drops down to reveal the information visitors would see if they choose the “Info” tab on the older version. Unfortunately, a user’s public URL is located in this area, instead of in plain view just below one’s photo.
3. Highlights, Posts, and Activities
Don’t blink when your looking at these sections, because there’s a lot of information packed in. In “Highlights,” visitors can see mutual connections, as shown above. However, in order to see all my connections, one must click on this area and choose “All.”
A great deal of information is located under the “Posts & Activity” heading, including my articles, posts, and all activities. Articles are the ones I’ve written on LinkedIn; this is straightforward. What is not straightforward is the difference between posts and activities. As far as I can tell, they’re one and the same.
Note: Unlike in the older version, only one article is displayed. In the older version, three were displayed, which meant you had to have written at least three articles if you didn’t want to be embarrassed, but I’m sure LinkedIn’s motive here wasn’t to save you from being embarrassed.
4. The Experience Section
Again, the new model of “more is less” is in play in the “Experience” section. One is able to see the entire first job listed (not shown above), but must click to see more for the remaining jobs.
My concern here is that a person with a feeble current or most-recent job will not show as much value as someone who has a more impressive and accomplished recent job to show. Also, people who have two jobs must choose which one to showoff first.
Or, we can simply rely on visitors to click on every job to see their descriptions.
5. Fixed Sections
Have you noticed that I’m talking about the new profile in a specific order – e.g., “Summary,” followed by “Experience,” etc. With the new profile, you cannot move the sections around. This is a problem for me, because I prefer to follow my summary with my skills and endorsements. I also have a problem with authority, and this is a total power play by LinkedIn, in my opinion.
Not much to report here. This section can’t be moved, which may cause problems for students and recent grads.
7. Volunteer Experience
What surprises me is that this section comes before the “Skills and Endorsements” section. This section hasn’t changed much, save for the fact that visitors must click to expand each volunteer experience. I wonder what LinkedIn was thinking when they made this decision for me.
8. Featured Skills and Endorsements and Recommendations
Finally, we see the skills and recommendations. First, visitors notice that only the top three skills are displayed. Second, only one endorser is displayed, whereas with the older UI, at least ten endorsers were displayed. This is not detrimental. In fact, it can be seen as a positive when we’re talking about slimming down the profile.
What I find very promising is that recommendations are just below your featured skills and endorsements. This is significant because in the older version, recommendations were anchored at the bottom of the profile, giving me and others the feeling that perhaps this section was on its way out. At the very least, it was given less prestige, much like skills are given now.
9. The Rest
Certifications, organizations, and projects are listed under “Accomplishments.” Prior, they had their own real estate. And yes, they must be expanded manually like most sections.
Do you remember painstakingly listing your professional and personal interests under “Interests”? Well, forget it – that section has been retired, as far as I can see. Shame.
The “Following” section includes my activities and interests. This is redundant information because visitors will see the section called “Posts & Activity” directly below my “Highlights” section.
It makes sense that LinkedIn shows the influencers, companies, groups, and schools I’m following, all of which visitors must expand in order to see more.
Is Less Better?
I think you’ll agree when you receive the new UI that, in some cases, less is better. However, the inability to move sections around and the fact that you have to click to expand most sections might make you miss the old version.
Then again, you might appreciate the lighter version of your new profile. The jury is still out for me.
A version of this article originally appeared on Things Career Related.
Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 15 job search workshops at an urban career center.