20 October 2016 | Career Advice | Guest Author
You've just graduated, you're looking for the job of your dreams, and you're starting the process of building your career. Making connections and networking with those in your field is an important part of advancing your career prospects. In today's world of social media, maintaining a LinkedIn profile is a useful way to keep in touch with your career contacts, and make new contacts who can help you find new opportunities in your field. To make the most of your profile, review these do's and don'ts of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is for Career Connections
Perhaps the most important rule is do remember that LinkedIn is not Facebook. The sites serve different purposes, and those differences should be taken into account. On Facebook, it's usually not appropriate to friend someone right after meeting them, but with LinkedIn, it's better to add a connection while you're still fresh in someone's mind. Do treat LinkedIn for what it is: a way to make job connections. If you find someone that could be helpful in advancing your career, but you don't have a first-degree connection to them, find a mutual friend and ask them to write an introduction for you, just like you would at a live event.
Do be professional and respond to your messages. Don't ignore people, even if you don't know them, or think they can't help advance your career. If a recruiter contacts you, but you're not interested in the job, thank them for their interest, and then if you have a friend that would be interested, recommend them instead. If someone you don't know very well asks for a recommendation, you don't have to write one, but still respond and explain that you only write recommendations for people you've worked with personally.
Customize Your Interactions
Remember that LinkedIn is for work connections, and so take the time to send personalized connection requests. Most people will likely accept your request anyway, but set yourself apart from the beginning. Do put in the extra effort to customize all your messages. People are more likely to respond to requests for recommendations and endorsements if you send a personalized message rather than the generic LinkedIn message.
Do be specific in your requests. When asking for a recommendation, mention specifically any projects or skills you want the recommendation to focus on. Not only are people more likely to respond, but the recommendation you get in return will stand out more than a generic recommendation. Don't leave subpar recommendations on your profile. If someone leaves a recommendation that is rushed or tepid, it's better to click the checkbox and hide it from your profile. A bad recommendation isn't going to help you professionally.
Do maintain your visibility. Most people with a LinkedIn account don't utilize it as much as they should. Post at least several times a week, and respond to what other people post. Write customized congratulations when someone gets a job promotion, and thank people when they congratulate you. On the opposite end of the spectrum, don't clog up people's feeds. Over posting can quickly become irritating, and can hinder your prospects. Don't post more than once a day. This will allow you to maintain visibility without annoying your contacts. Do give your contacts time to respond to your requests, and don't pester them endlessly until they respond. Don't be afraid to use the remind button, but allow your contact sufficient time to respond before utilizing it. If several months pass and you receive no response, go ahead and withdraw the request and ask someone else instead.
As you dive into the career world, remember these do's and don’ts of LinkedIn to make the most of your networking efforts and give yourself a leg up in the job market.
Jessica Gust is a Marketing Assistant at Localpeek.co.uk - a new postcode finder. She is passionate about new marketing strategies and is always eager to share her ideas through blogging.