Good for you! You've joined LinkedIn, the powerful professional network. And you've done your homework: Your profile is complete, your photo is professional, and you've completed your Summary. You've even received some recommendations. What could go wrong?
Once you're on LinkedIn, there are some protocols that can hold you back from being successful in networking and job opportunities. It is a different kind of social media platform, so learning some of the "etiquette rules" now will be helpful for years to come.
Here are five important things to know:
- Don't be shy! If you have colleagues who use this platform, go ahead and connect. And--this is different from Facebook--if you meet another professional, it's routine to connect after your initial conversation. One hint: Avoid the "connect" button under a person's photo. It generates a generic "I'd like to include you in my network" message. Instead, send a personalized message to the person. Not only is it more polite, it shows that you took time to make the request specific. While you're at it, don't hesitate to ask for recommendations from past colleagues and supervisors.
- Post carefully! LinkedIn has 347 million users, with 26% if members having 500+ first degree connections. Unlike Facebook, more posts are not better. Post your own articles or updates, comment on others' posts, or advertise your own services...but not all on the same day. You don't want to clog up anyone's feed. Of course, you already know to keep it professional and save personal posts such as vacation photos or recipes for Facebook.
- Be generous with endorsements and recommendations! Endorsing a connection puts an extra skip in anyone's day and it is very easy to do. They show up on your home page, with a list of skills generated from their profiles. If you can honestly endorse someone, you definitely should. (And know that just because someone endorses you, it doesn't mean you have to return the favor.) Recommendations are important, so when someone requests one, ask him or her for a list of skills/talents/qualities that will be helpful.
- Make your title compelling! Don't just say that you're a Registered Nurse. Write something like, "Experienced RN/10+ years/Critical Care Professional." Whatever your passion or interest, put it in the title. For inspiration, do a quick search to get examples in your field. You'll get more views with a snazzy tag line.
- Join groups! Take time to find groups where people have discussions and share resources. Don't be limited by your current job. If you're interested in advancing, or learning other skills, join groups and follow the discussions. Make comments, too! It costs nothing to join a group, such as the Harvard Business Review, and see what the current issues are for managers. Think big!
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