7 LinkedIn Usage Blunders - So you can stop making them.
This is the second in a 4-part series on LinkedIn for job search / career networking. It's also an excerpt from our just launched
. If you missed the first post, it's right over
So you have your profile snazzied up and you've dodged
many people make in setting up their profiles. Very fine work, grasshopper.
Let's now breeze right into the most common wrong turns people make when
LinkedIn for professional networking and/or job search.
Common LinkedIn Usage Blunders
- Setting up shop and then doing absolutely nothing.You laugh, but it’s not at all uncommon. LinkedIn is an interactive platform. As in, it’s designed for you to interact with others. Sure, you might be “found” if you simply have a decent LinkedIn profile, but odds are you’ll have FAR greater, lasting results with LinkedIn if you actually use the sucker once you’re all fancied up.
- Connecting with someone amazing ... and the squandering the moment. When you invite people to connect (or they invite you), it’s probably for a reason, right? So when they say yes, don’t squander that opportunity to chat it up. A simple, “Great to connect with you, Lisa. It was great to meet you at the Supply Chain Management Conference. Don’t be a stranger and, please, let me know if I can help you out in any way down the road!” will go far. Or, if you need to ask a specific question, use this moment. But no ambushing. Think about you'd hate to be approached -- don't do that same thing to others.
- Never using the status update feature. The status update feature is simply a brilliant way to stay top of mind with your professional network. Every time you post an update, it appears in your network’s feed. So use it regularly. What should you post? Try links to industry-related articles, updates on professional events you’re attending, and/or questions posed to your audience specific to topics in your field.
If you’re a long-term job seeker, you’ll want to use care to not use this real estate to continually bemoan your ongoing search (e.g. “Stillll looking for a job. Please help me.”) But do stay on the radar of the people in your network, continually positioning yourself as someone who is knowledgeable, engaged and passionate in your field of expertise.
- Lazing out on the connection requests. Generic connection requests are for schmucks. Take the time to add a personal note every single time you invite someone to connect with you on LinkedIn. Even if it’s going to be obvious why you’re connecting, send a personal note.
- Take, take, taking, yet never giving back. The number one way to alienate and annoy the people in your LinkedIn network is to continually take, take, take and never give anything back. Always be mindful of this. Be helpful to people every time you see opportunity, whether that’s in writing a recommendation, endorsing someone’s skills, making an introduction or helping them answer a question they’ve posted. The more you give, the more you get. Basic life rule.
- Forgetting that this is a PROFESSIONAL social media platform. Social media is just that, social. Of course it is. But LinkedIn is not to be confused with Twitter, Facebook or Snapchat. LinkedIn is a professional social media platform. Thus, if you intend to use it to entice and influence other professionals, you’ve got to use care in everything you post, including comments you make in group discussions. Because guess what? They all go into that thing called your digital footprint. And if your digital footprint tells me you’re a weirdo, a loose cannon, a hard nose, a huge partier or a full-on lunatic, you’re going to be hosed.
You’re on LinkedIn to build and convey your professional brand. Everything you post and every way in which you interact should keep this top of mind.
- Making it blaringly obvious to colleagues that you’re seeking. This is the crowning faux pas of LinkedIn usage, one that applies specifically to covert job seekers. When you rarely (or never) use LinkedIn and then * POOF * suddenly have 75 new connections, join 8 new groups (including ones specific to jobs and job search), and have 15 new recommendations (realize, folks, these are date stamped), what do you think the colleagues in your LinkedIn network are going to think (Or worse, your boss)? Ding ding ding! You are correct. They are going to think that you’re on the prowl for a new job. If you’re not able to conduct your career networking openly, you absolutely must adjust your privacy settings so that your profile isn’t a running announcement that you’re about to jump ship.