LinkedIn is a great professional networking, skills building and job portal. With more than 300 million active users and a wealth of resources to maximize your profile, LinkedIn is a ‘must’ for today’s professional.
Whether you’ve been using LinkedIn for years or just starting to consider opening an account – this blog post is for you! Project the right professional image by following these 5 simple rules:
1. Choose the Right Profile Photo
Research shows that having a picture makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by others. Keep your photo clean, up-to-date and professional. This isn’t a dating site and nobody wants to see you cuddling with a cat. Of course, if you’re a pet groomer, that’s a different story…
- Want to learn more? Click here for 5 Tips for Picking the Right LinkedIn Profile Picture
2. Personalize Networking Invitations
Would you like if someone barged into your office yelling ‘Here I Am!’ and then quickly walking away? Probably not. But that’s exactly what so many of us do on LinkedIn. It’s important to personalize connection requests – especially to strangers – and avoid sending default messages. By personalizing messages, you have a better chance of connecting with people and starting a conversation. On the other hand, when you send out blank invitations to connect, there’s a much greater chance recipients will click the “Report Spam” or “I Don’t Know This Person” button. Too many complaints will get you tossed into LinkedIn Jail!
3. Quality Over Quantity
LinkedIn is about building and maintaining legitimate professional relationships. Be strategic about who you add to your network. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, having a solid LinkedIn network is not about how many friends or followers you have but about the quality of your network, the value they can bring to your professional development and vice versa. That said, don’t under-estimate the value of connections outside of your industry. You never know who can introduce you to your next big opportunity!
4. Asking for Recommendations
LinkedIn’s recommendations feature is a powerful tool to showcase how your work is valued and endorsed by influential people. Again, quality far outweighs quantity. Avoid generic and mass recommendation requests or providing a deadline. Only ask for recommendations from people you’ve worked directly with or who have very positive experiences with your products or services. Another great idea is to write recommendations for others (e.g. vendors, ex-customers, colleagues, etc. so long as they are 1st degree connections.) LinkedIn will automatically prompt them to return the favor and write a recommendation for you.
5. Be Positive! Participating in Group Discussions
LinkedIn groups are a great place to share your thoughts, gain insight into sector topics and make new connections. It’s okay to challenge assumptions and be critical of things you don’t agree with, but it’s also important to be respectful of group members, focus on constructive criticism and celebrate good ideas. Put your best foot forward by sharing your experiences and showcasing your expertise in a positive way.