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Career Tips

LinkedIn etiquette: What you should and shouldn't do

LinkedIn etiquette: What you should and shouldn't do

When is it appropriate to endorse him? Will she accept my invitation to connect even though we haven't officially met? How many times a day should I post an update? LinkedIn is known by almost everyone as the most professional of the major social networks, and there are unwritten guidelines for making the most out of it, as we discussed at our June Innovation Room event. Use them wisely and you might land your dream job. Avoid them and you might be blocked by your dream boss. Our experts at New England College of Business have outlined a few of the do's and don'ts when it comes to LinkedIn etiquette:

Do Personalize all connection requests

What's your initial reaction when a stranger approaches you on the street? Taken aback, right? Introductions on LinkedIn work the same way, so do try to personalize them. In your connection request, the personal note is a chance to proactively remind him or her of the reasoning behind the connection. At all costs, try to avoid using the boring “I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

Don't worry about how many connections you have

Unlike Twitter or Instagram where your following is everything, LinkedIn is all about quality over quantity. Focus on nurturing the valued connections instead of gaining the ones that probably won't matter to you. This also means that if a connection request comes in from someone you don't know, never feel obligated to accept.

Do Use a professional profile picture

The old saying of putting a face to a name is a lot easier these days because of social media and online networking. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date with a clean professional photo. It's perfectly fine for that image to communicate your personality, so don't be afraid to smile. No need for mugshots here…

Don't saturate your profile with meaningless content

Remember that LinkedIn is not Twitter. It's a great place to post relevant content that speaks to your professional brand, but please avoid littering your contacts' feeds with information that you know they don't want to see. Avoid over-posting in general. One a day is fine, so try and make it as meaningful as possible.

Do stay active with valuable connections

LinkedIn is a place where relationships are made and nurtured with the click of a button, so take a few minutes each day to reconnect with your most valued contacts. This could be something as simple as congratulating a friend on a promotion, liking a published post or endorsing a colleague for a job well done. You never know when these simple gestures could lead you to a dream opportunity.

Don't anonymously endorse

LinkedIn allows you to endorse the skills and expertise of the contacts in your digital rolodex, but don't be known as the anonymous “endorser.” If you've worked with that person and know they're strong in a particular area, then the validation makes sense. If you have no idea where that person sits, skip the endorsement and work on nurturing that relationship in a more personable manner.

Have questions or tips? Share with @NECBedu on Twitter or post on Facebook or LinkedIn!

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