LinkedIn doesn’t offer as many opportunities to customize your profile as other social networks (auto-playing music and movies on MySpace, anyone?). Usually, we have to settle for the preset, resume-like sections that are available from LinkedIn. This is why so many people think of LinkedIn as just an online version of their paper resume.
Luckily, LinkedIn has partnered with some of the top providers of web services to offer some great applications or plugins for the service. These applications are some of the best ways for you to set yourself apart from the crowd on LinkedIn. They allow you to demonstrate what you are working on, what you are writing and reading, and to market yourself.
Reading List by Amazon
One of my favorite LinkedIn applications is Reading List by Amazon. It shows the two most recent books you are reading, have read, or want to read right on your profile. Any time you update your reading list, it also notifies your connections on their LinkedIn home screen.
There are two compelling strategies for using Reading List:
Post only business related books – Use Reading List to demonstrate that you are reading to improve your skills and knowledge. Each time you read a new book, your contacts will know about it and think you are uber-smart.
Post all books you are reading for business or pleasure – Possible employers, your friends, and business contacts know that you aren’t a robot and thinking about business 24/7. This is an opportunity to show that you read for fun. Who knows, you may inspire one of your contacts to read a book that changes his or her life and they will want to repay the favor by offering you your dream jobs. Okay, that is probably not going to happen, but you can dream, right?
Do you use Reading List or any other applications? What application do you want me to talk about next?