In a world that is increasingly being posted, reposted and commented on by social networking, today’s citizens and organizations are becoming highly dependent on their ability to show themselves off in the digital realm. In the past this form of connection was dictated by large all-encompassing social media websites such as Facebook or Myspace. However, as we move into this new digital renaissance, social media has become more and more specialized. One of these specialized websites is LinkedIn, a network used purely for making and maintaining professional contacts.
Although a vast majority of LinkedIn users are professionals, LinkedIn has a special importance to students of the current generation who are on the cliff between academia and professional living. On the smallest scale LinkedIn is a means to stay connected to professors and other important contacts for future contingencies. On the grandest, LinkedIn can be the difference between hunting for jobs in the traditional sense and having jobs offered to you on social media.
“I’ve had a lot of job offers through LinkedIn,” said second-year senior Shannon Gnagey.
Like all social media however, LinkedIn requires a basic knowledge of etiquette. Below are two lists of relevant information compiled by Senior Misha Litchev and Gnagey, who were co-speakers for a seminar teaching people the basics of LinkedIn.
Tips & Tactics
- Post. Post in groups. Post in discussions. Post your own articles and thoughts. Post on your connection’s posts. This is the quickest and easiest way to advertise your skills and profile.
- Share articles that have already been posted.
- Keep in touch with your contacts. Figure out who is most important and send them emails regularly in order to touch base, but not in a way that is pestering.
- Organize your profile in a way that displays your strengths nearest to the top where others can see them.
- Avoid sending the stock email to those who you are trying to connect with. Not only does this seem unprofessional and amateur, it also implies that you don’t particularly care if your target person is in or outside of your network.
- Always be formal in your personal communications. Always be sure to end on a formal note.
- Keep all communication short and to the point. Don’t waste people’s time with pointless or unnecessary details.
- If you see something interesting pop up on your feed, don’t just like it, be more personal and add a comment as well.
- With all things on LinkedIn, keep it professional. There are other avenues of social media for you to post you and your friends having fun, or to talk about your life. LinkedIn is a professional social network - always act like you are trying to impress someone to get a job.
- Keep it honest. In many forms of social networking we tend to lie or overemphasize our life achievements. LinkedIn however is a different creature which demands a certain amount of honesty to remain credible.
- Understand the culture of endorsements. Don’t like every endorsement you get. Conversely, if you get an endorsement, consider endorsing the person who endorsed you. That being said, endorse only what you know you can credibly endorse.
- Don’t connect with random people. Make sure you actually know your connections in the real world before you connect with them on LinkedIn.