Penned by Carolyn
Okay, you’re more or less set up on LinkedIn? Good.
Before diving into specifically how to use LinkedIn (next week and beyond), I want you to step back and think about your frame of mind as you use it.
Following Michael Pollan’s advice on what to eat (“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”), I put forth my own LinkedIn manifesto: Be open, not too open, and choose quality over quantity.
And putting a few disclaimers first:
- Some people disagree with me on the quality over quantity point. I’m going on what I’ve personally seen be effective in my almost-year at BGT.
- Everyone uses LinkedIn for the own purposes (business partnerships, advertising, jobseeking, etc), and will have different takes on what’s useful for those aims. I’m focusing on jobseeking.
Yes, make sure you’re marked as “Interested in Career Opportunities,” have a public profile, a photo, a completed profile, etc. (See LinkedIn’s own tips on jobsearching through the site).
Not too open:
Know someone whose LinkedIn name looks like this? “Bob Smith BOB.SMITH@GMAIL.COM OPEN TO ALL CONNECTIONS”
These people make me shudder for a couple reasons: they look desperate, and they look like they don’t have a clear idea of what they’re looking for. If you want to connect with people you don’t know, they have to see the value in connecting with you. The age-old dating rule applies: while you need to be open and accessible, do play a little bit hard to get.
Drop the CAPS lock, the exclamation points. asterisks, etc. Your resume and experience should be able to market you. If they don’t, spend your time getting some experience instead of adding Wingdings to your profile.
Choose quality over quantity:
To me, flags are raised when people have 3000 connections. Or when they have 5. Find a sweet spot between those numbers, comprised of solid connections with people you’ve met or worked with. The point of LinkedIn is you can access all their second and third degree connections, so you don’t need to link to every person you ever come across. If you want to expand your networks quickly, join a bunch of groups that you’re interested in (like BGT‘s — in order to be able to vouch for everyone in our personal networks, we link to our community through our group rather than through those 3000 connections with people we’ve never met).
Oh, and file this under Carolyn’s Serious Pet Peeves: If you are going to request to link to someone you don’t know, PLEASE add an introduction or reason you want to connect — it drives me nuts when people I don’t know at all request to link to me without any explanation — or, worse, they just mark that I’m a “friend.” If you take a minute and think about what you and that person share, they’re more likely to check out your information, link, and remember your name. Make people want to help you.