10 Tips for Correct LinkedIn Etiquette

by Elizabeth Harmon
Posted: August 06, 2015

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Have you considered using LinkedIn for your job search? Over 39 million students and recent graduates have already signed up, taking advantage of the big opportunities the site brings.

As the largest professional network, with over 364 million members, from over 200 countries and territories, it’s definitely not a site to ignore. With a range of tools and a wealth of contacts, it could help you take a step closer towards your dream career.

Getting set up on LinkedIn is easy. However, once you’ve familiarised yourself with all of the network’s features, it’s important to consider how you go about using the site. Just like a face-to-face interaction, there are some specific dos and don’ts to consider. Take a look at our list of the top 10 etiquette guidelines to follow on LinkedIn, to help when conducting your job search:

1. Hide your activity

Set your profile so it’s public, but make your activities private. Although you want to be open about your work history and achievements via your profile, employers don’t need to see your every action, especially if you’ve made a lot of recent changes to your profile, which could make them suspicious.

2. Be transparent

Make sure that your profile is clear and doesn’t have any gaps. Employers don’t want to feel like you’re holding back any important information from them.

3. Add a profile picture

Don't start connecting with people until you have uploaded a profile picture. It is the first thing employers will look for when they visit your account. Make sure your picture is professional, preferably a head-shot. You should also make sure you keep this up-to-date, so you don't have an image that was taken 5 years ago!

4. Make connections

If you’re going for an interview, connect with the interviewer on LinkedIn beforehand. Make sure you include a bespoke message to them, rather than using the standard LinkedIn connection request text. Even if they choose not to accept the invitation, they will have seen that you made the effort. You can also use their profile to find out more about their 

background, which may be useful during your interview as a good conversation starter.

5. Do respond

If someone has sent you a private message, left a comment or added a recommendation, make sure you reply and acknowledge them straight away. Don’t leave this too long, as people would normally expect to receive a reply within 1 – 2 days.

6. Be personable

If you send messages via the tool, whether you have a free or a pro account, make every message count. Make sure you keep your message targeted and to the point. Be friendly, yet professional. Don’t use the same message to everyone, but instead make it personal to them.

7. Courtesy

Although you want to get far in your career, and LinkedIn gives you easy access to the CEO’s of businesses, this doesn’t mean you should instantly message them. Instead of wasting the CEO’s valuable time, start by finding the person that would be managing the businesses recruitment.

8. Be professional

LinkedIn is like no other social network. It’s not like Twitter where you can regularly post pictures of your lunch and it’s not like Facebook where you can share a quick selfie. It is a professional network and so it’s therefore important that you act professionally at all times. This includes the way that you act on the tool, as well as the way that you communicate.

9. Don't embellish

 

 

Previously, your CV would only have been seen by a few people, primarily you and a hiring manager. With LinkedIn, your profile is viewable by everyone. It’s therefore important to make sure your CV is an accurate representation of your experience and abilities. This isn’t the place to embellish your skills and responsibility, as you could be caught out by others. Therefore make sure you stick to the facts and are 100% honest.

10. Stay active

During your job search and even once you have secured a job, it’s important to keep your LinkedIn account active. Try posting interesting articles, engaging in groups and commenting on other people’s posts. Be careful to make sure that what you post is valuable to others and don’t over post, as this could appear spammy.

As you can see, there are lots of things to consider when getting started on LinkedIn. By employing bad LinkedIn etiquette, you could turn away potential employers. Therefore make sure you follow these rules and stay professional at all times. For further advice on using social media in general for your job search, take a look at our previous blog post.

Have you had a positive experience with using LinkedIn? Let us know any etiquette rules that you think should be followed. Leave a comment in the box below!

 

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Elizabeth Harmon

Elizabeth Harmon

is a Social Media Consultant with a number of years of experience in the field. She has worked with a growing list of clients around the world, helping to build successful social media strategies, create effective content and much more. She is a writer and journalist for the Open Colleges Careers Blog.

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