LinkedIn is no longer just about flaunting your resume when you're trying to get a job.
The social network has become an incredible resource for building your professional identity online, no matter where you are in your career. And an important part of that process is done not through its desktop site, but through its apps.
However, many people don't even know that LinkedIn actually has two different apps that everyone who cares about their professional network should download (the company also has a suite of different apps for recruiters, too).
You can use LinkedIn's apps to stay on top of industry news, prep for meetings, and then add connections on the fly after those successful meetings.
Here's how you can get more value out of LinkedIn's apps:
First, there's the flagship LinkedIn app, for Android, iOS or Windows. (You can also get the app on your iPad.)
Before we get started with some of the cool things you can do with LinkedIn's app, let's get acquainted with it. Here's the menu tab and the main stream:
1. Add your calendar to get info about someone before an interview.
Want to come up with a conversation topic to break the ice with that manager you'll be meeting within half an hour?
If you sync your phone's calendar with LinkedIn's app, you'll be served up the profile of anyone you have penciled in on your schedule, so you can refresh yourself on their info before you meet. You'll always feel more prepared if you know your interviewer's background.
Simply select "Calendar" from the list of options in the app's menu bar and follow the instructions.
2. Follow specific companies that you're interested in.
From the app's menu, hit "Companies" to browse through a personalized list of recommendations of which ones you should follow. You can also search for specific companies yourself.
Once you follow a company (or, better, a bunch of companies!), LinkedIn will call up its profile in the Companies tab, so you can browse its page and see its updates, employees, and job postings quickly and easily. The Companies tab becomes a one-stop destination for all the news you need about a company you're interested in.
Plus, once you're following a company, its updates and any content that it shares will also show up in your news stream.
3. Apply for jobs directly through LinkedIn's app.
Did you know you could land your next job based on just your killer LinkedIn profile?
The list of positions in the "Jobs" section of LinkedIn's app are tailored to your interests (customized from your own LinkedIn data), and you can apply for a position just by submitting your profile. Browsing through your list of recommendations can save you a lot of time by avoiding a long, painful hunt through other posting sites. (Plus, the small screen is perfect if you're stuck in a job you hate and want to browse new positions during work, since you're not broadcasting your intentions on a big monitor.)
4. Use your news stream to build your personal brand and strengthen your connections.
As you scroll through your news stream, you'll see updates from your connections, content being shared by companies and people, updates about the new jobs of people in your network, and more.
Instead of just consuming, though, you can interact and add to the conversation when you have something to say. You can "like" and comment on almost every kind of post, whether that's saying congrats to a connection who scored a cool new job or adding your thoughts to an article about a topic related to your industry. Nurture your network.
5. But don't go too crazy with comments.
"If you look at the comments on LinkedIn, they're very insightful," LinkedIn mobile product lead Tomer Cohen tells Business Insider. "They're a great continuation of the content itself."
Remember that saying something just to say something isn't a good strategy. Adding to the conversation in some way highlights your expertise or insight into a certain area. Be conversational, but not too casual, because using slang or not checking your grammar could be a turn-off to potential employers.
Yes, it's social, but LinkedIn isn't Facebook; you still want to stay professional.
6. You can use the Pulse tab to see a personalized selection of articles and news about topics related to your industry.
LinkedIn will recommend you follow certain categories related to your industry (and it's easy to add more). You can then browse through and read articles from a wide variety of publishers and LinkedIn Influencers — and even long-form pieces by your peers.
*Note: LinkedIn's iPad app is very similar to its iPhone app, but with design and aesthetics that make it even better for browsing and reading leisurely at home from your couch, instead of on-the-go.
7. Love the Pulse tab? You'll love the Pulse app even more. You can download it for Android or iOS.
Pulse is LinkedIn's dedicated news app, and your new best friend if you want to stay on top of what's happening in your industry. It makes finding interesting stories an easier and much more visually focused process.
8. Become a resource for your network by sharing the best, most helpful content you read.
On Pulse, you can easily share articles (and your comments on them) to your own LinkedIn profile, as well as to Facebook, Google+, or Twitter in just a few taps. (Depending on whether you have Android or iOS, there are a few other sharing options, too.)
By developing yourself as a thought-leader in your industry, you'll build your network and make yourself a more attractive job candidate the next time you're looking.
9. Stay up on what's happening even when you don't have Wi-Fi.
If you've got a commute before work, you can read up while underground if you save a story. Or you could read on your flight on the way to your next business meeting.