LinkedIn's mobile app update makes it easier for professionals to connect


LinkedIn announced that its updated iOS and Android app are now available for download. The company gave its mobile apps a huge facelift as part of an effort to simplify how users to connect to other people, jobs and information. The updated apps are based on a design that CEO Jeff Weiner showcased in October, sporting a fresh look with large buttons on the bottom of the screen.

The biggest change involves how members of the professional network communicate and message each other. The new Messaging tab on the bottom of the app now feels more like direct messaging, versus the email feel of the old InMail feature. LinkedIn's more social rivals, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, have all unveiled direct private messaging capabilities, and the change will help LinkedIn keep pace with the industry.

As LinkedIn keeps job-seekers on its network, this will hopefully make it easier for small business owners to recruit talent and network with other professionals. Techradar pro recently reported that an increasing number of job candidates are leveraging mobile and social to find and apply for jobs. The changes implemented by LinkedIn could help small businesses target this demographic, and candidates could benefit by choosing social networks as an alternative or supplement to lengthy job applications.

Making business social

The Messaging tab is just one of five tabs that help users navigate the LinkedIn professional network. Other tabs include Your Feed (Home), Me, My Network and Search.

The Home tab, otherwise known as Your Feed, works in a similar way to Facebook's Feed, providing you with relevant news about your network, industry, skills and functions. The feed helps you stay up-to-date with what's happening in the professional world, and LinkedIn will ask initial questions to determine your interests. You can refine these interests and unfollow topics that aren't of interest or value.

The Me tab shows everything about you, including your posts, profile and comments. It's also an easy way to get to your personal information so you can keep your digital resume up-to-date.

And finally, the Search tab is how you search for jobs, people, businesses and professional groups. LinkedIn claims that search speed has improved by as much as 300%.

A hub for small businesses

If LinkedIn is successful in registering new users and keeping them engaged, the platform could be a valuable tool for small businesses looking to recruit new talent.

LinkedIn will also compete with other job posting sites, like Monster, but as a professional network, LinkedIn offers more benefits to users and recruiters. It provides a place for users to network based on their profession or shared interests, stay current with industry trends and endorse skills and talents found in their colleagues' profiles.

The endorsement feature is meaningful, as it gives recruiters an insight into the job candidate and to see if the skills and expertise that are listed are accurate. Endorsements are similar to recommendations and reviews on Yelp.

LinkedIn also acquired a fact checking company earlier this year that will help recruiters verify the accuracy of claims made in user profiles. Ultimately, it will be up to recruiters and businesses to perform more thorough vetting during the hiring process.