Although a social networking platform, LinkedIn definitely has different rules than Instagram and Facebook. Yet, those rules often aren't as intuitive or obvious as those that apply to more personal social networking sites. Do you send a request to an industry leader? What do you put in your 'summary' section? Should you connect with everyone who sends you a request?
And, in a society that increasingly emphasizes the importance of 'branding,' one's ability to effectively navigate a professional networking site like LinkedIn is almost essential. LinkedIn can be an incredibly powerful tool, and we want to help you use it wisely! Check out our tried and true tips...
Be Friendly. While there aren't hard and fast rules on this one, we tend to accept every request we receive, keeping in mind that growing your network has very few drawbacks - you never know where an opportunity will arise. We apply this mentality to sending requests, too. If they're in your desired industry - regardless of whether they're an industry leader or an intern - send them a request! That said, we are familiar with those creepy or spammy connections. So, with those, we immediately sever the [digital] connection and report to LinkedIn if necessary.
Build Out Your Profile. LinkedIn makes it easy for you by indicating your 'Profile Strength' and the next steps to complete to make your profile even stronger. Follow those suggestions and add your education, previous jobs (and your experience from those positions, tailoring the information for the job you want next), links to your work, and a summary. Adding more detail (as long as it's detail that is thoughtful and professional, of course) will also help when you want to upload your resume directly from LinkedIn for job applications.
Look Professional. Studies show that your photo is the first thing people viewing your profile look at, so it almost goes without saying that your photo should be professional: not a selfie, not a group photo, not a grainy photo, not a photo of you wearing sunglasses.
Turn Off Notification Mode. When you update your profile - whether it's adding your promotion or your alma mater - LinkedIn is automatically set to notify your network of these changes. Only notify your network of major changes, like a new job or promotion, that way your network will be more attuned to your updates.
Stay on Private Mode. Before you LinkedIn stalk, make sure your settings are on private. This way, LinkedIn won't share with the individual that you viewed their profile!
Be Bold. Send requests to industry leaders (and personalize them). Endorse your friends in skills that are important to their career paths. Apply to jobs you don't think you'll get. You never know what it will lead to!