Now that the new LinkedIn changes have been rolled out to everyone, let's take a look at Office rumorsthe very best and oftentimes hard-to-find features on the brand new Microsoft LinkedIn site.

6 best-kept LinkedIn secrets

Some of these features may be hard to find, but I promise that you'll have improved success on LinkedIn if you take advantage of these hidden gems.

1.  15 free direct messages per month to fellow group members. There used to be no limit on direct messages within groups, and now you're limited to 15, but it's still a significant value (15 InMails typically cost $150). Therefore, use your 15 freebies before you use any InMails that may be part of an upgraded account. When you find a fellow group member whom you'd like to message, simply click Message.

2.  Expand your reach by creating three free search alerts. If you like the results of an advanced people search, be sure to scroll all the way down in the right-hand column and click Create search alert, and then LinkedIn will keep looking for new people who meet your search criteria.

3.  Download your connections. Did you know you can get a detailed list of your 1st level connections? You can, and it's free and simple to do.

On your top toolbar, click Me>Settings & Privacy>Account>Getting an archive of your data.

You'll then receive much of your LinkedIn data in a zip file, including a spreadsheet with first name, last name, current title, current company, and each connection's primary LinkedIn email address.

4.  Review your organic LinkedIn home page feed. You can review the status Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 11.42.03 AMupdates from your network in the exact order they're shared rather than in the order the LinkedIn algorithm shows them if you simply change the Sort by option (top right of your home page feed) to Recent rather than Top. If you choose Recent, you'll receive all the updates of everyone in your network. If you choose Top, you'll only receive the updates LinkedIn chooses to show you.

5.  Find fellow alumni on your university's alumni page. On the top toolbar, put the name of your school in the search box, choose your school's company page entry from the drop-down list, and then click See Alumni. You'll then see a listing of all alumni who are LinkedIn members, and you can filter that list by city, keywords, years attended, and much more.

6.  Take control of the Skills section of your profile. Your Skills section and the endorsements you receive for those skills have increased importance now that LinkedIn features your top three skills. But you can now add, delete and rearrange your skills. Check out my article on the ins and outs of this feature here.

There you have it—six terrific LinkedIn features that should improve the results you're getting on LinkedIn. Good luck using them!