I’ve written about LinkedIn many times — you merely have to click this LinkedIn blog tag to read my archives. Think of LinkedIn.com as a Chamber of Commerce to Facebook’s after-hours party and MySpace’s all-night rave.
Three months ago, I wrote an article with 10 assumptions on how you use LinkedIn as a professional networking tool, and I included tips for improvement.
Due to an influx of visitors that are reading my blog — and observations of recent usage on the site — I’d like to echo my August advice:
- If you have a LinkedIn profile, please keep it updated.
- Fill your profile with colorful language, not drab resume-speak.
- Write in first-person, not third.
- Include a picture. Ideally, use the same picture you have on other social networks.
- Join a group. Prove to me that you can connect to random people who share your beliefs.
- Ask questions. Answer questions. Be part of the community; don’t be static.
- Don’t be someone’s connection just because he or she asked you. You can always decline.
- Don’t ask someone to be your connection just because he or she is your friend or is on another network with you.
- Recommend your connections whether or not they are looking for a job. Ask your connections to recommend you.
- If you feel inspired, here is my LinkedIn profile (which I am continually updating). Feel free to send me an invitation to connect.
If you opt to invite me to connect with you on LinkedIn, please do not send me the default message:
I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.
Treat an invitation like a miniature cover letter for a job. Sell me on the idea that we should be connected to each other, whether because of common values or interests, or because you’d like to do business together. In other words, edit the default message.
Unless you’re seeking to hire me or work with me on some project, please don’t invite me without a common history. Maybe you’ve commented on my blog enough times I can recognize your voice. Perhaps we’ve exchanged online or offline messages. Or did we meet at a conference?
Anyone can buy and sell in an eBay transaction. If you don’t treat me as a number to add to your list of connections, I’ll treat you as a name — and someone I can trust and respect.
For related information, please read Chris Brogan’s advice on recommending LinkedIn connections.
Photo credit: cseward @ Flickr