In some respects, LinkedIn can make or break you in terms of networking and applying for jobs. Recruiters and peers will spend time looking at your profile if you’ve taken the time to create it, so it’s important to make your online impression just as great as in person.
As you continue to take your networking online, here are the do’s and don’ts to make your connections really count.
Do respond to connections quickly
Just as it is appropriate to respond to emails, phone calls, and even text messages within 24 hours, LinkedIn is another communication channel to add to your stream. Ensure you respond within two business days as contacts reach out.
Don’t ignore requests because you don’t know the person
Though it may seem creepy, on LinkedIn it is perfectly normal for different connections to add you. Whether it’s a recruiter, a potential employer, or just a person who wants to network with you, see if the connection will be mutually beneficial before you disregard it.
Do update your headshot
Keep your headshot clean and professional. Don’t include other people or pets in this photo, and ensure your photo reflects the way you want to be seen in the workplace. Again, your headshot is one of the first online impressions you’ll make.
Don’t confuse your Facebook audience with LinkedIn
Respond to connection requests as soon as possible, and add contacts as you meet them.
Unlike Facebook, it’s socially acceptable to add someone on LinkedIn immediately after meeting them. Think of it as the follow-up email you would send after a networking event. Furthermore, recognize that the content you post on LinkedIn should look different than on Facebook. Keep your LinkedIn profile professional and focused on your career aspirations – not your family photos or dinner recipes.
Do personalize your connection requests
Instead of adding connections at random or sending generic messages, do include a brief personalized note when connecting. Include how you met or any mutual connections, common groups or interests, or any other information that can bridge the gap so you can actually build your network instead of having miscellaneous connections that don’t really know you.
Don’t spam your connections
Even though LinkedIn is a professional network, no one appreciates messages that sell to them. Though connecting and networking are important, be tactful. Invest in relationships first.
Do endorse your connections
If you recognize that someone you are connected to possesses certain skills, always endorse them. Likely, they’ll return the favor. You never know when an endorsement could lead to another position.
Don’t ignore opportunities that may arise
Even if you’re content in your career, you never know when your company may go under, the economy may turn, or when you desire to grow beyond your current position. Be open to potential opportunities that seem promising, and don’t limit yourself from going through the process.
Remember, you are in the driver’s seat and have the upper hand to say, “No, thank you.” Don’t discount the potential you may encounter. It may just be your next big break.