Are you looking to grow your LinkedIn network? Do you want to improve your chances of connecting with people via LinkedIn? In this article, you’ll find six tips for successful networking that will help you avoid common mistakes that can damage your professional reputation on LinkedIn.
What’s Different About LinkedIn?
Unlike social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter that accommodate both personal and business uses, LinkedIn is a social network built strictly for business. From the appearance of your profile to how you manage relationships, the people on LinkedIn expect professional behavior from you at all times. As you build your network, it’s important to know what’s appropriate and what’s considered bad LinkedIn etiquette. Here are six tips:
#1: Show People Your Business Side
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it count. If you use an unprofessional image for your profile photo, you may never get a chance to recover your reputation. Your LinkedIn profile image should show you in your best professional light. Use a head shot with a clean background, a smile and a clear view of your eyes. Think of how you would present yourself at an event thronging with prospects and use an image that does the same, online.
Always use an appropriate profile image.
#2: Skip the Keyword-Stuffing
The first thing many people do when they receive your connection request is look at your profile. And if your profile is stuffed with repetitive or irrelevant keywords, there’s a pretty good chance that they won’t connect with you.
Too many keywords make your profile look suspect.
Yes, you must optimize your LinkedIn profile with relevant keywords so you’re found in search results, but there is a big difference between keyword-optimizing and keyword-stuffing. Instead of using a large number of vaguely relevant words to show up in hundreds of search results, choose three or four top keywords you want to be associated with to make sure you show up in search results when people are looking for exactly what you offer.
Be smart and selective with the keywords you use in your profile.
I have personally found LinkedIn’s best uses lie in the creative strategies practitioners have devised on their own, thus my recent favorite five tactics, to wit: 1. Scoping the Competition This is the strategy my client accomplished last week. He had asked me the week prior, as he prepared for annual budget planning, if there was any way of assessing just how large his competitor’s marketing team and budget might be? I opened LinkedIn and ran a search on the company’s name and any job titles that contained marketing or communications. Voila—the search produced an immediate list. As he began to peruse their titles, I suggested he temporarily change his privacy restrictions to make his views and searches anonymous. Within a few minutes of searching we were able to see how many results appeared for people currently employed in the company’s entire base and of those, how many are working in marketing. While not every employee is registered on LinkedIn, surely, he’d arrived at a reasonably close estimate of the percentage of the company’s employees who are working in marketing, which would equate at least somewhat to the level of the company’s percentage of revenue devoted to marketing efforts as well. As may be expected, a search of employees both past and present was also helpful in illustrating a fairly significant level of churn. How long do employees typically stay at the company in question? With a bit more calculation, now we know. Some of the former marketing employees had gone into private consulting practices. Extra helpful. Subject to the confidentiality aspects of their prior employment, of course, the client knows which consultants might be especially beneficial in helping him scope out his own future competitive plans. But my clever client showed me how he’d taken the results a step further: he’d created a simple Word document that outlined the competitive company’s full department, by job title. Next to it, he placed a column to illustrate the corresponding people and roles in his own team. The result was a picture worth more than a few thousand words. The difference was profound. He was able to inform his management team that he recognized it would not be possible to fill the resource chasm in the space of a year, but would strongly suggest the addition of four strategic new hires, and flipped his screen to show the comparison with the addition of the four new positions, in blue. He’d made his case with a single image, and indications are strong that his proposal will be entirely approved. A smart strategy. 2. Job scoping/background checks Yes, we fairly well all use LinkedIn to accomplish background checks, but consider the call I recently received from a regional tech company. It wasn’t a recruiter, but an internal executive who phoned. “I need to make a PR hire that will really ‘wow’ our senior executives,” she said. “Of the resumes that have crossed my desk, I know that three of these individuals have prior connections to you. I’d like to hear your unvarnished reactions to each.”
Bear in mind that I knew nothing of the position she had opened prior to the call and that I hadn’t been listed as a reference for any of three prospects. In fact I’d never even worked at the same company as one of the three. I gave her my feedbacks. In one of the cases, the individual had been a prior employee who had departed impulsively and badly. I might have shared that information, but I never got that far. As she heard a bit about the juvenile choices the individual had made here and there—the things a young employee thinks the boss doesn’t hear about or won’t matter—she replied, “Say no more. I wouldn’t touch this employee with a 100-foot pole. He won’t be getting a call.”
by Pamelia Brown LinkedIn has quickly become one of the largest and most accessible professional social networks out there, and because of this, it’s imperative that everyone who wishes to maximize their career potential join LinkedIn, set up a profile, and begin networking. Of course, as with many other social networks, there are unwritten rules of etiquette that you must first figure out and then abide as you embark on your LinkedIn journey. Unfortunately, figuring out these rules and not making mistakes or breaking these rules is rather hard for those new to LinkedIn or even social networks in general.
Below I’ve tried to list a handful of mistakes that many LinkedIn users make, and I’ve tried to incorporate solutions into each section. Please, if you know LinkedIn well, feel free to add to the information here in the comments section. And, as always, happy job hunting! The following are mistakes many LinkedIn users make and how you can avoid them:
1. Failing to Understand Social Networking Contexts
The biggest thing many LinkedIn users fail to understand is that LinkedIn is simply one of many social networks out there. No matter how professional you try to make your LinkedIn profile, the fact that a crazy Facebook profile or irreverent Twitter account under your name exists could significantly hurt your career chances. Do not ignore the other social networks you’ve joined, because recruiters, hiring managers, and others within the industry are looking at these other sites too!
Solution: Google yourself constantly. Manage your entire online presence. Edit your Tweets, check your photos on Facebook, untag yourself from unpleasant photos and conversations, and watch what you post on whatever forums you’ve joined. Always assume that your LinkedIn account is merely a portal that a potential employer can enter in order to access your entire online persona.
2. Lacking A Good Profile Photo
This is relatively simple. I’ve seen so many people fail to upload a good profile photo. I can understand why people would wish to not upload a photo; however, lacking a photo can seriously hurt your chances of getting clicked. Think about a recruiter. He or she is browsing entries; is he or she more likely to click on a photo or a tiny bit of text in the search results page? An updated photo of yourself will assure the recruiter that you are, indeed, human after all, with all your quirks and faults.
Solution: It’s much easier for someone browsing search results to connect with a human face than a bit of text, so upload a photo as soon as possible! Tips 3,4, and the complete article
I took advantage of a recent lunch with fellow MENG member Jan Wallen, an expert on selling online who literally wrote the book on using LinkedIn, to ask her LinkedIn job search questions relating to how executives should use this social networking site. Following are Jan’s answers to the LinkedIn job search questions I’ve been asked most often following my “How to Write an Effective Resume” webinar.
Today’s Seven LinkedIn Job Search Questions–with More Tomorrow
1. Can you quickly give me a few key thoughts about using LinkedIn in my job search? About 80% of companies look on LinkedIn first to find candidates. It’s critical to have your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and optimized and to be sure it represents you well. When you’re conducting a job search, you’re selling yourself, and your profile is your marketing brochure. It’s not meant to be your life story or a long, chronological list of accomplishments. When it’s optimized with keywords, it’s more likely to come up when companies and recruiters search on LinkedIn. There’s SEO and now there’s LinkedIn profile optimization. It’s very important that your profile is written to showcase your expertise because a junior person in a company may be looking on LinkedIn first to do the initial screening. They’re making a short-list of candidates to be interviewed, and they may not have the business depth to grasp that your profile fits the job description they’ve been given. 2. Under my name, should I focus on SEO or positioning myself? This LinkedIn job search question relates to your Professional Headline which is below your name on your LinkedIn profile. Many people put a job title there. It’s much better to position yourself with a tagline or headline that shows your expertise and what you’re known for. LinkedIn has a search algorithm which they change periodically, the same as the search engines. All sections of your profile are searched. When companies and recruiters search LinkedIn and your profile comes up in a list, it sets you apart in a positive way when your Professional Headline stands out from all the rest. Therefore, it’s best if you can position yourself and also have keywords in your headline. 3. Is a premium package worth the cost? The premium accounts are getting a lot of attention now. And LinkedIn is encouraging members to upgrade to the premium levels. The recent changes that LinkedIn has made mean that premium account members receive more information and more detail than those who haven’t upgraded. LinkedIn has recently made changes to the features that are available in the free basic account and those available in the premium level accounts. It doesn’t make sense to pay for something if it doesn’t give you value. The best way to decide whether one of the premium accounts is best for you is to check their Comparison Matrix. You’ll see line-by-line the features that each premium level gives you. To see the Comparison Matrix, go to the black menu bar in LinkedIn and click on Upgrade. You’ll see the matrix and can compare each account level. Some of the differences that may make it worth it for you to upgrade include: InMails—Are LinkedIn’s special messages, and they’re available when you have a premium level account. Of course, you can always send a message to your connections. If you’re not connected, premium accounts allow you to send InMails. My guideline is that if you look up profiles and they say Send InMail 50% of the time or more, it may make sense to upgrade. Who’s Viewed My Profile—You’ll see more details if you have the premium level accounts.
Advanced Searches—You’ll be able to search based on more criteria with the premium level accounts. For example, you can specify a list of companies by size and if they’re a part of Fortune 500 when you have the premium level accounts, which could be important to a LinkedIn job search. Questions 4-7 and the complete article
Today in San Francisco at the LinkedIn Mobile Day we announced exciting mobile news, including a completely refreshed LinkedIn app for iPad, a preview of a fully integrated Pulse experience with LinkedIn, and the newly unveiled LinkedIn Intro. These new products help reinvent, reimagine, and redefine how professionals work on mobile. If you missed the live stream from LinkedIn Mobile Day, or just want to watch again, below is a replay of the event.
By Laura Smith-Proulx Want to ensure your LinkedIn activity is as covert as possible? You MUST understand the site’s broadcast message types,Activity Broadcasts and Activity Feed, and the differences between them. Often confused with each other, these controls allow messages to be widely distributed to other LinkedIn users, informing them of your activity (and basically prompting them to look at your Profile to interpret your actions). Here’s a close-up look at the type of information you can control with Activity Broadcasts and Activity Feed settings — with key points on how to customize and maximize these messages for your job search: 1 – Activity Broadcasts. Activity Broadcasts are the dead-giveaways sent out when you change your Profile. So, if you’re tweaking your Headline to arrive at the best fit, or finally populating your Profile with a ton of new data, this is the one to turn off first. You can view your Activity Broadcast options by going to Settings, then “Turn on/off your activity broadcasts.” Here, you only have On (“Let people know when you change your profile, make recommendations, or follow companies”) and Off. As you can see, this setting also gives your Connections a heads-up that you’ve written a Recommendation or are following Companies. These are rarely considered high-profile activities, but they’re included in LinkedIn’s definition of a Broadcast. Typically, turning your Activity Broadcasts off during a job search is a good idea (even recommended by LinkedIn), since Profile updates are usually the first sign that you’re preparing for flight. Another bonus: if you’re trying out new Headlines or continually adding keywords, turning off Activity Broadcasts will prevent your contacts from being hammered during each iteration. 2 – Activity Feed. See more on “Activity Feed”, more tips, and the complete CareerRocketeer article