Top 5 LinkedIn Etiquette Tips
By now you know that LinkedIn is a professional network, different from Facebook and Twitter. And while you probably know not to bash your boss or map your 6-mile run, you might still be confused about what you should be doing on LinkedIn—and the etiquette mistakes you’re making without realizing! Step up your executive presence with these five tips:
- Customize your connection requests. How “important” do you feel when you receive a form letter? That’s how your potential connections feel when they get the auto-filled invitation, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Plus you’re missing a major opportunity to reinforce a relationship, remind someone how you met, or pitch a connection to someone you don’t know at all. Make the other person feel special (and informed) with a customized invitation—this site has some great templates to get you started.
- Selectively send (and customize!) requests for recommendations and endorsements. A mass request-dump makes people feel as “important” as that auto-filled invitation! When you want a recommendation or endorsement, customize messages to people who know your work well; try “Would you take a look at my skills and endorse any you think are appropriate?” instead of the prefab “Can you endorse my networking skills?”
- Turn off your profile activity during an overhaul. You want your connections to see your fantastic new profile, but you don’t want to bombard them with 15 notifications while you update it. So when you’re giving your page a facelift, temporarily disable your activity: On your Account Settings & Privacy page (found under your profile picture—you do have a recent photo, right?), click Privacy, then under Sharing Profile Edits, click to “No.” Update to your heart’s content, then be sure to click back to “Yes”!
- Endorse when appropriate, but… don’t feel pressure to endorse someone just because they endorsed you. It’s not bad form to save recommendations and endorsements for skills you know people have! But if someone endorses you, it doesn’t hurt to check their profile for areas you might meaningfully endorse.
- Consider requests to and from strangers. How should you handle a generic LinkedIn invitation from someone you don’t recognize? (See how important those customized invitations are now?) You may be looking at a referral or a potential professional resource. Be sure to make immediate personal contact with a message that thanks them for the invitation, notes what you have in common (“I see we’re both in Investment Banking”), then asks for more information (“What drew you to my profile?”). On the flip side, if you want to connect with a stranger, customize why you’re contacting them so the person can make an informed decision about you. BONUS: Leave out the creepy, “I see you viewed my profile” from any connection requests!
Be honest—which etiquette oopsies were you making without knowing? Following these tips will help you put your best professional face forward on LinkedIn!