If LinkedIn has never helped you land a job, you’re probably using it wrong

Be like this—but online.
Be like this—but online.
Image: Dell Inc./Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-2.0
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The fact is, impressions are formed based on behavior. Your behavior in-person and online equally gives employers something to work with in forming an impression. There is a lot out there about how to behave at the job interview, but what about your behavior online as a job seeker? We cover etiquette for when you’re on LinkedIn because it’s a critical outlet for job seekers when it comes to job searching, applying to jobs, and job networking.

Here are seven tips on LinkedIn etiquette for job seekers:

1. Present a professional visual image

If you’re trying to reach hiring managers and recruiters on LinkedIn, your profile image should appropriately show a head-shot of yourself as you would appear at a job interview. Replace a profile picture that can send the wrong message. For more tips on selecting the right kind of profile picture, read “How Your Avatar Can Impact Your Job Search Plans.”

2. Check your notification settings

This step is especially important for those who are currently employed and job searching. In most cases, job seekers don’t want their current employer finding out they are on the hunt for a new job, so make sure to turn off notifications on changes you make to your profile.

3. Don’t connect for the sake of upping the number of people you know

Connections on LinkedIn should be about quality, not quantity. Connect with individuals who can benefit from you and who you can benefit from. When you request to connect, always send a personalized message that speaks to how you may know the individual or why you want to connect. Good communication from the start will help set the stage to a positive relationship on LinkedIn. For more tips on how to connect with others, read: “What To Say When Connecting on LinkedIn.”

4. Use “please” and “thank you”

These are two basic and simple words that go a long way in life whether you’re communicating with someone in person or online. Show manners in your communication and people will be more willingly to communicate with you.

5. Keep communications clean

LinkedIn is a “professional” social networking site. We stress “professional” because many lose sight of that and may let personal matters like a wild weekend or criticism and negative comments that should be left personal get into their communications. Keep your activity and communication on LinkedIn professional because it impacts impressions others have of you—and you want to avoid giving a less than positive impression.

6. Be accessible

If you’re going to have a presence on LinkedIn, make yourself accessible to others. Make sure the email address you include with your profile is regularly checked so that you respond to employers, recruiters, and connections in a timely manner. Treat LinkedIn communication like email and respond promptly, or at least within 1-2 days.

7. Limit postings

LinkedIn is not like Twitter where it’s acceptable to post as much as every hour. The feed on LinkedIn can get cluttered quickly so the general recommendation is to limit postings to once a day.

There are many benefits to jobseekers using LinkedIn. You can benefit from opportunities to engage with others as well as find job openings, but when you have poor etiquette it can do you harm. Build a professional and positive impression on LinkedIn following these suggestions of proper etiquette.

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Image by Dell Inc. on Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC-BY-2.0.