LinkedIn is a great career growth tool when you use it consistently and effectively. Whether your goal is to job search, build and strengthen your network, or share your expertise, LinkedIn is a game changer. Today we will discuss a few mistakes to avoid when using LinkedIn to network, connect, and grow.
Don’t Dismiss LinkedIn as Something Only for People Who Are Looking for a New Job
The best time to build your LinkedIn profile, connect with people, and participate on LinkedIn is now—before you need it. If you find yourself suddenly unemployed and decide that now is the time to start using LinkedIn, you’re going to be playing catch up.
Don’t “Set It and Forget It”
Your LinkedIn profile is an evolving snapshot of you. You should be updating it regularly with new connections, status updates and/or LinkedIn Publishing articles, and other activity (such as commenting on other people’s posts).
Don’t Ignore It
Check in on LinkedIn regularly—at least every other day if you are in active job search mode; at least once a week for passive job seekers. Plan on adding a new status update each time you log in.
Don’t Forget to Engage
You get the most out of LinkedIn when you consistently engage. Seek out opportunities to connect with thought leaders in your industry. Participate in conversations. When you comment on connections’ updates, that activity will be visible on your profile, so speak up!
Don’t Be Selfish
You will get more out of LinkedIn if you focus on how you can help others, not how they can help you. The phrase “give to get” is very powerful on LinkedIn. You can earn the respect of your peers and people of influence if you help others first.
Don’t Wait for Others to Find You
Use the LinkedIn search function to look for people you know and invite them to connect with you. You should aim to add two to five new connections each week if you are a passive job seeker, and six to ten connections a week if you are actively searching for a new job. Build your network slowly, not all at once.
Don’t Forget to Explore the People Your Connections Know
One of the most powerful functions of LinkedIn is the ability to connect you with people who are connections of the people you know (using the “six degrees of separation” principle). Follow LinkedIn’s guidelines on connecting with these folks (using InMail or requesting connections through your mutual friend), so that your account is not flagged for spam.
Don’t Indiscriminately Try to Connect with People
One of the strengths of LinkedIn is the connections you make, but it’s not a race to get to 500+ connections. Have a reason for each of the people you connect with—either it’s someone you already know or are related to, or someone it would be beneficial to connect with. If you don’t know someone, get to know them a bit before sending a personalized connection request. (You can do so by seeing who you have in common—or who they are connected to, checking out their LinkedIn summary and work history, visiting their website or blog, and seeing what groups they belong to).
Don’t Restrict Your LinkedIn Networking to Online Only
Use LinkedIn to connect with people—but then request in-person get-togethers, when possible. Meet for coffee, or lunch, to catch up.
Don’t Forget to Check Your Settings Regularly
LinkedIn sometimes makes behind-the-scenes changes that can affect your existing privacy and profile settings. Make it a habit to check your settings to make sure you’re showing—or not showing (or sharing)—what you want.
For instance, if you’re job searching, try turning on “open to opportunities” so that recruiters can more easily find you and see what your preferences are for your next career move. You can also turn off Microsoft’s Resume Assistant tool that basically pulls content from your profile and suggests it to those who are creating their resume in Microsoft. You definitely want to protect your personal brand from the competition.
Connect on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/mary-southern