Best Practices for LinkedIn – Using another growing form of social media to network

LinkedIn has emerged as the social media network of choice for professionals who would like to build their career-oriented networks. As our previous posts have shown you, using a social media platform comes with personal responsibility, and LinkedIn is no different in this arena. However, because it has been created exclusively as a professional network platform, the stakes for maintaining a clean image are even higher.

1. Begin with your profile.

And keep it current. List all your former employers and schools – the more exposure you have, the easier it becomes to network.

2. Make your profile public, and include the link to it in your email signature.

3. Add a professional photograph of yourself to your profile.

Network contacts and potential employers prefer being able to put a face to a name. Having a professional photograph of yours uploaded to your profile increases your credibility and demystifies your professional persona.

4. Use career related keywords in your professional headline.

5. Personalize your network invitations.

We’ve all used the “I’d like to add you to my professional network” message, which is not always a good way to go. Include a short, personalized message that details your reasoning for seeking a new connection with that particular person.

6.  Separate quality from quantity.

The difference between LinkedIn and every other social media platform is that LinkedIn is not about increasing exposure through numbers alone. When you begin expanding your network, try and remember whether you’re connecting with just anyone or connecting with the right people.

7. Build your network using your own Outlook and e-mail contacts and by adding your real friends.

8. Stay away from spamming and lying about how you know someone.

9. Be proactive about building your network.

10. Once you’ve established a basic structure for your new network, find groups on LinkedIn that relate to your career goals and sign on as a member. And once again, keep yourself visible and proactive.

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