LinkedIn has launched a self-service certification feature in the hopes of helping both education businesses and institutions spread their name throughout the site, while at the same time allowing users to enhance their profiles.
The company offers a platform that allows users to create an online presence that will allow employers to easily access the skills and experience of potential employees.
The new service, aptly named Add to Profile for Certification, will allow professional education providers to place a certification widget on their website. LinkedIn users who have completed courses will be able to add the widget to their own profiles as proof of course completion.
The idea expands on a pilot program from last year that LinkedIn launched in partnership with businesses such as Microsoft, Coursera and Lynda.com. The recent launching in effect opens the program up to professional education businesses.
The addition of certificate badges also enhance LinkedIn profiles, which in turn offers the company more jobseeking business.
“The ways in which we market ourselves as individuals, brands, potential employers and employees have shifted dramatically in recent years, making it critical that we always put our best foot forward online and off,” writes product manager Dan Shapero in a blog post.
The company has also introduced a new “YOUniversity” dashboard aimed at helping current students take their professional career from the classroom to the real world.
When a student signs up, LinkedIn will suggest they connect with their current college or university, opening up information pertaining to the careers of other students and alumni, notable alumni, recommendations and general information. All of this offers students the ability to find mentors, project subjects, and more.
After completing a personal profile page, students will have access to the student job portal, which highlights positions such as internships and entry-level opportunities which are aimed toward students and recent graduates.
In addition to helping students find jobs, a new use has been found for LinkedIn information — vetting applicants for loans. Earnest, founded in 2013, offers low-cost personal loans to financially stable applicants. The company has operations in 19 states and has loaned about $2 million so far, with plans to increase that to $10 million by the end of the year.
The lender assesses each loan applicant as an individual, not a number, explains CEO Louis Beryl. “It’s not just, ‘Do you have this credit score?’ Or, ‘Do you make this amount of money?’ For us, it’s really about, ‘Are you financially responsible?’”
The company looks at an applicant’s LinkedIn profile along with their financial accounts in order to gain a full picture of their education, work history, salary, savings, cash flow and earning potential. Prospective clients are interviewed over the phone and loans are often fulfilled within 48 hours.
Earnest plans to offer loans in 25 states by the end of the year and in all 50 states by 2015.