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Five ways to improve Linked In

LinkedIn appears to have cornered the professional social network market with admirably clear positioning and a genuinely useful site. But I believe they could do even better:

1. Become the CV/resume platform
The design of public profile pages are too dry. Couldn’t the layouts have customisable themes to suit personalities and professions? They need to let people better express their portfolios and achievements. LinkedIn have the opportunity to become people’s CV/resume on the web and should take it.

2. Make conversations easier
Conversation and connection is at the heart of their brand. Group functionailty and social graph integration could be much richer. LinkedIn could be a service people encounter daily.
How about providing free online spaces for people to brainstorm topics or generate feedback on pitches and product ideas?

3. Get more people to go Pro
LinkedIn offer three account upgrade options, ranging from $24.95 to $499.95 per month. I’m sure that’s good value for some professional recruiters, but isn’t there an opportunity for Pro-style badges for the mass market? Done right, people would feel a professional obligation to have a Pro account – it’d be like putting on a good suit for an interview. Flickr seem to have this right at $24.95 per year.

4. Enable real-world networking
Every day all over the world, people attend conferences hoping to make new connections. How could LinkedIn add value? Could they provide dynamic pages on your upcoming events showing who else in your network/target is going to be there too? Could they be more proactive on Twitter, using hashtags to partake in conversations around hot events and topics. Might they even run/sponsor networking sessions at the bigger conferences?

5. Own the advice space
LinkedIn could be the platform for professional advice. Sites like Horses Mouth are getting traction in the mentoring space, but LinkedIn have the scale to take a huge share in this. Most successful business people would be flattered to share their experiences if it was made easy.