LinkedIn may come under the hat of ‘social media’ as it is ‘social’ but that doesn’t mean we should use it like we use the rest of our social media accounts. It’s not the kind of place you would check into a local restaurant and post pictures of your dinner, or share a shameful video of your best mate. LinkedIn is a professional take on social media.
I even made an infographic of statistics, you can find it at the bottom of this blog post!
Here’s how you should and shouldn’t use the platform:
1. Do put a picture of yourself on there
A picture of you and only you is best. A clear, professional, inviting headshot would work well. Definitely have a picture in place before you start sending out connection requests. Try not to use group photos, or selfies or one where you can’t see your face clearly. Being honest, my LinkedIn picture isn’t that great, I need to get myself a professional looking photo – not one where I’ve cropped my friend out of.
2. Don’t post like you’re on Twitter or Facebook
This is not the place to write statuses every half hour. Share posts that are relevant, maybe an achievement at work or something from your work that you want to promote. Don’t post what you had for breakfast that morning or that you’re having a bad hair day. Keep that for Twitter or Facebook. This is social media in a professional capacity.
3. Do connect with people you know
That’s what LinkedIn is all about, networking with professional peeps. I usually connect with my #GirlBossMondays and people that I have worked with at past jobs, internships and work experiences. Don’t forget your university classmates are also great connections to have.
4. Don’t try to connect with every human that has a LinkedIn account
This isn’t Instagram. The number of connections you have doesn’t prove how popular you are, or how much of an influencer you are. Keep it like Facebook, only connect with people you personally know or have been in contact with. If you admire someone or their work, follow them. Random people don’t want to see your posts on their timeline – they don’t know who you are so they won’t care. If you do want to connect with someone you don’t know, try sending them a message explaining why you’re reaching out.
5. Do keep your profile up-to-date
Keep your past work experiences and current jobs up-to-date, adding anything of relevance. You don’t want people trying to contact you by looking at your LinkedIn and contacting an employer that you left five years ago because you didn’t update your LinkedIn account. It’s like an online CV, you want to showcase where you’ve worked and what skills you’ve gained.
6. Don’t neglect your opening bio
This is where whoever visits your page can see who you are, what you do and what you’re looking from LinkedIn. For example, in my bio I state that I am a PR student at John Moores and am looking for work experience/internship opportunities. I used to have ‘looking for a year-long placement opportunity for 2017/2018’ in my bio and from this I was contacted with an offer at a large internal communications company in London. Use the bio to your advantage, think of it as a short cover letter.
7. Do try to keep stalking to a minimum
Be careful when you’re looking at people’s LinkedIn profiles as they will get a notification telling them that you viewed their page. Yep, it’s not like Facebook or Instagram where you can stalk to your heart’s content without them knowing (until you accidentally like a post from 44 weeks ago) – they’ll know you’re lurking. I’ve had a connection who doesn’t seem to know that I get the notification as they view my page on the regular. It gets creepy after a while. Nothing really changes that often on my page so I always wonder what keeps them coming back.
8. Don’t beg for people to endorse your skills
If you’re employed, maybe ask your manager if they can write a reference on your page or endorse you for a few skills. Ask any past work experience employers to add something to your profile. The best people to ask are your university tutors and your classmates. Just don’t message everyone and anyone begging them to endorse your ‘social media’ skills if you don’t really know them.
9. Do use it for job searching
LinkedIn’s great when it comes to looking for jobs, as they have a specific job board where you can search the sector that you want. It’s becoming quite common for employers to employ candidates from LinkedIn and even offer jobs through the platform. Recruiters trawl LinkedIn everyday looking for candidates that would suit their job opening. I’ve even been offered a placement through my LinkedIn page – remember to keep it updated!
10. Don’t undermine the power of LinkedIn for your career
Learn to use the network. Use it to it’s full potential. LinkedIn is now vital to your career, with most employers, employees, companies all visible and contactable on the platform. You can connect with potential employers, maybe a company you’ve always wanted to work at. You can have a look and see who works at the company and even message/connect with them to get more of an insight.
There’s also a great amount of blog posts on LinkedIn (this is what I mostly use it for) with amazing advice about your career, being a leader, working in business and self-help articles. Don’t forget the job board platform on LinkedIn, it’s becoming the go-to place to get hired!
If you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, or have a stalk of my profile (I’ll know who you are) then you can find me here.