Since its debut in 2003, LinkedIn has been a social-media powerhouse in the professional networking world.  Many companies do not even consider you a serious job candidate if you do not have a LinkedIn profile.  Increasing numbers of companies advertise their open positions on LinkedIn thereby allowing you to apply with just a few mouse clicks by which your profile becomes your application.  You have the option of attaching a cover letter and resume.  This entire process can save hours of time compared to typical online company application sites that require you to fill out laborious education and employment-history sections.

I have been amazed to watch LinkedIn’s strategy and growth during its first decade.  As with any successful company, LinkedIn is constantly assessing how it can improve.  Lately, a key person involved in that endeavor is Kevin Scott, LinkedIn’s top engineer.  In February, Scott instituted Operation InVersion; a major project to revamp LinkedIn’s computing architecture, which definitely needed some work.

Scott made a special effort to avoid human error during the computing architecture rebuild.  Ashlee Vance describes his approach (“LinkedIn’s Hidden Horsepower” Bloomberg Businessweek, 4/15/13–4/21/13, p. 34):

Key to Scott’s InVersion project are the artificial intelligence code checkers that scour software for any errors put in by engineers.  Other tech companies have their own algorithmic tools but also dispatch teams of people to oversee the process of adding new code to the companies’ live Web sites.  At LinkedIn, it’s almost entirely automated.  ‘Humans have largely been removed from the process,’ Scott says.  ‘Humans slow you down.’”

Scott’s efforts are paying off in producing a better, smoother, more reliable Web site.  For example, typical social media sites such as Google or Facebook update once every few days or at best once daily.  LinkedIn is now typically updating three times every day.  The additional site refinement supports what Scott sees as LinkedIn’s next level of performance:

mining users’ economic and job data to spot trends early and advise people on advancing their careers.  ‘We’ll be able to see things like where welders are migrating and what skills the successful ones are learning,’ Scott says.  ‘It is great to have perfect information running in both directions.’

As with any cutting-edge endeavor, growing pains happen.  No one screamed louder than I did when the Books section of our profiles completely disappeared.  On the other hand, I am sure many folks shed no tears.

Many Web sites exist for professionals to join where you can be just another name on the roster.  LinkedIn is not one of them.  These other sites do not have the professional breadth, depth, and utility LinkedIn does.  Additionally, LinkedIn seems to be doing its best to remain the industry leader in growing a professional tool that works for everyone.  It is a powerful and relevant resource in every sense of the word.  That power and relevance only stand to grow stronger.

About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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