Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mining LinkedIn for Careers Knowledge

First of all I strongly recommend membership of LinkedIn, and I am grateful to Rob Straby of Conestoga College for pointing it out to us, his students. If you join you will soon find that LinkedIn 'Answers' are a valuable and satisfying way of giving and receiving information and advice. Members post queries and other members are free to offer any advice that they may. One of the categories of queries is of particular importance as far as this blog is concerned. It's called "LinkedIn Answers: Career and Education". I follow it all the time as an RSS feed, looking for queries that I think I might be able to provide helpful input to. Here's how it looks in my news reader, FeedDemon.

I've underlined one query. It's not legible so I'll just say that it's the perennial, "I'm expecting to graduate with a degree in biology. What might I do when I graduate?" Many of LinkedIn's members are very experienced business people (and a lot are not). I wanted to see what they might suggest. I also wanted to work up an answer of my own, based on a search of Canada's NOC and/or perhaps the United States' SOC.

A little problem arises. It is that, as far as I know, no notification is provided to those of us who might be interested in this particular query when a response is provided. The RSS feed for this category of questions will contain a notification when the query is closed by the person who posed the query. Unfortunately, however, many questioners never trouble to close their queries. How can I follow this query to learn how others answer?

Actually, the answer is fairly simple. I use one of the many services that monitor individual pages for change and send items on RSS feeds in response to these changes. I use Here it is as it appears in my Firefox browser interface.

The website for provides full installation instructions (which are dead easy to follow). With Page2RSS installed I follow the link from my news reader to the LinkedIn Answer in my browser. I click on the Page2RSS icon in my browser and Page2RSS creates a new page that contains a link to take me back to my news reader to handle the task of subscribing the the feed that Page2RSS is creating for me for this query. (Got that?)

Here's the page that Page2RSS makes. One is instructed to copy-paste the link. However, I find with FeedDemon that just clicking on the link does what is needed.

The first item you will see in your feed reader will be a notification that you are monitoring a page. After that, you will receive feed items when LinkedIn members respond to the query.


-- said...

Great article, Bill. I am slow to adopt new technology sometimes but you seem to help me understand the benefits to my clients.

Bill Bell said...

Very kind of you to say that, thank you!