LinkedIn is tricky. It’s technically a social networking platform, but the networking it’s meant to be used for is far more on the professional side of things than the social. LinkedIn can’t be used with the same carefree attitude one might find on Facebook, Twitter or one of the many other social media outlets that are becoming even more of an ingrained part of social interaction. An entirely different culture exists on LinkedIn that comes with its own set of guidelines that should be followed for the networking platform to be used effectively. Here’s a list of ways to maintain a positive image on LinkedIn:
Show some personality, but not too much: It’s great to show some of your personality on your LinkedIn profile. It shows that you’re a unique individual and could even lead to you sticking out from a pile of bland applicants for a potential job. But make sure that you’re not giving off too much personality in your profile whereas a prospective employer could hold it against you. The Internet may absolutely adore videos of singing cats, but that’s probably better for Facebook than LinkedIn.
Include a professional picture: You may not be looking for the same results as you would be with an online dating service, but one thing is true across all social media platforms: People are more likely to interact with someone when they can attach a face to a name. A picture is definitely needed on LinkedIn, given that a lot of people use it to know what a future boss or hire might look like so that they can be somewhat familiar when they meet them. When you add a picture to your profile, make sure that is a professional picture that leads people to take you seriously when they see it. This could even be an excuse to book a professional photo shoot.
Quality, not quantity: When it comes to making connections on LinkedIn, it’s more about them being of good quality than a higher number. For common social media outlets, the higher the follower count, the higher the influence and reach someone has. But on LinkedIn, it’s better to have a hundred strong connections than over 500 that can’t really benefit you. In a best case scenario, you’ll be able to get more than 500 high-quality connections.
Be patient: Getting a new job or promotion may be extremely exciting. But you may want to wait a little while before sharing it with the world on your LinkedIn. The first few weeks with any new job is an adjustment period. Waiting until you’ve gotten through this first stage before you update your LinkedIn profile is wise because who knows how it’ll go. You may find that the position wasn’t what you thought it was and find a better one. If you’re updating your profile every time you get a new job and fall into the bad habit of changing it every three to six months it may reflect poorly on you.
Maintain appearances: Your job on LinkedIn isn’t over after your request to connect with someone is accepted. The best networking relationships are the ones that are nurtured over time and consistently kept up. Be sure to regularly check in with your most valued connections on a regular basis so that you can build a relationship you can both benefit from.
Don’t over-endorse: Treat the value of your LinkedIn endorsement or recommendations with the same value you would if it weren’t online. If you gain a reputation for vouching for people who unfortunately don’t live up to the standard you’ve set, you’re lessening the value of your endorsements.