LinkedIn Do’s and Don’ts

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You have heard that LinkedIn is a powerful social networking tool, but are you actually tapping into its potential?  LinkedIn is an amazing (and free) opportunity to connect with people in your industry.  When used effectively, LinkedIn can give you the ear of decision makers and it can allow you to present yourself as an expert in your field.  However, in order to get any benefit out of LinkedIn, you need to approach it in the right way.  Here are some do’s and don’ts to get you started:

Do invest some time into your profile.    Your profile is the face that you present to the world.  Recruiters and people working in your industry will review your profile in order to determine if connecting with you is worth their time.  Complete your profile and customize it to the position that you are targeting.  Also make sure that your profile, including your photo, presents you as a competent professional.

Do turn off notifications when you are updating your profile.  If you are making a lot of changes to your profile, don’t forget to turn off the notifications.  Otherwise your contacts will get a status update for every single change…how embarrassing!  

Do keep your profile current.  It’s painfully obvious when somebody is neglecting their LinkedIn profile.  If you’re not updating your profile, most people will assume that you are not active on LinkedIn and ignore you.  Posting relevant content at least once a week will prevent your account from appearing stale.

Don’t use automated invitations and requests.  Most people ignore the canned invitations and requests they receive on LinkedIn and can you blame them?  If you take a few extra minutes to write the request in your own words they will be much more likely to respond and it will do a lot more to build the relationship.

Don’t be pushy.  The whole point of LinkedIn is to reach out to people, but it is important to be respectful about it.  If you are asking someone who works in your field for advice or assistance or if you think that you could form a relationship that is mutually beneficial, then be direct about it.  However, if they show any resistance, don’t push.  Respect people’s boundaries and know that there will be lots of other opportunities.

Don’t over-endorse or accept every invitation.  You should only endorse people for skills that you know they possess and you should only accept invitations that are relevant to you.  If you are in the habit of saying yes to everyone, it will be obvious and it will undermine your credibility.

(Written by Karen Bivand,Image Courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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