LinkedIn’s New “Contacts” Feature – Good for Job Seekers? Or Bad?

LinkedIn has once again rolled out a new feature.

LinkedIn Contacts debuted at the end of April and offers a sophisticated way to coordinate and access your professional information. By organizing and curating contact information from your various email accounts, calendars, address books and notes, LinkedIn Contacts is meant to function a user-friendly hub to store all important work-related data. It’s available both online and as an iPhone app.

At first glance, Contacts sounds like a great new tool for professionals. It offers a number of neat features to help you stay connected to your colleagues, such as a “Lost Touch” feature to let you know how long it’s been since you’ve communicated with contacts in your network, and a Facebook-esque “Birthday Reminder” to ensure that you never forget your boss’s big day.

Contacts is also extremely well designed. It’s compatible with a host of popular apps and email providers and routinely updates your information. So whether you use Outlook Mail, Gmail, Google Contacts, Google Calendar, Google Apps Mail, iPhone Address Book, Yahoo! Mail or Evernote, all of your information is dumped inside LinkedIn Contacts and redistributed onto one slick interface.

Pretty impressive.

But even though it’s clear that LinkedIn Contacts is a great tool for currently employed professionals, another question remains:

How can this new technology benefit job seekers?

LinkedIn has increasingly become not just a way to ‘connect’ with your existing professional network, but a crucial tool for job-seeking professionals to peruse the market. Many companies now post job openings on LinkedIn exclusively since the response rate is so high.

Will LinkedIn Contacts help job seekers connect with companies? Or will it instead move the networking site back towards primarily helping colleagues connect with colleagues?

At the moment, the answer seems to be both yes and no.

One the one hand, Contacts sounds like a great way to organize your professional activities. It could be an excellent tool for job seekers to keep track of new job postings, interview times, and hiring manager contact info. And that “Lost Touch” feature might be helpful for keeping in touch with companies over time.

Yet on the other hand, more than anything, LinkedIn Contacts seems to be a way of organizing one’s existing network rather than meeting anyone new. If more professionals begin using Contacts and avoiding the central site, this might not be a great thing for job seekers looking to connect with companies in their industry.

But the real impact, of course, still remains to be seen. Stay tuned.

For more information about LinkedIn Contacts, contact Employment Professionals Canada. We’re always interested in discussing new digital trends in HR and recruitment.