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5 ways to follow proper LinkedIn etiquette

LinkedIn etiquette

At a cocktail party, you probably wouldn’t approach someone you didn’t know and ask for a job recommendation. You have to build relationships in life, and the same is generally true for your LinkedIn® network, says David Horen, project coordinator on the Phoenix Career Services™ team.

“Using LinkedIn comes down to common sense,” notes Horen, a former LinkedIn staffer. “People should be professional and treat their interactions online similarly to how they would behave in person.”

Here are five tips for proper LinkedIn etiquette:

Connect with people you know.

The networking site is designed for people to interact with those they already know. “You shouldn’t have a bunch of people in your list of connections that you have never met,” says Kathryn Scahill, career coach for Phoenix Career Services.

If you try to connect with strangers too frequently, they may report you to LinkedIn support, which may notify you that your account has been restricted. Then, when you try to reach out, Horen says, “You can only send an invitation to an individual if you have his or her email address.’’

Expand connections through “introductions.”

It’s acceptable to connect with people you haven’t met by asking one of your connections to introduce you.

If you see that a friend or associate is connected to someone employed at a company you’d like to work for, Horen says, you can ask your friend to make an introduction.

But do this only when it makes sense professionally. It depends on your relationship with the person you are trying to connect with, Horen emphasizes. Generally, he says, “use your best judgment when asking favors of others.”

Endorse when it’s legitimate.

Although LinkedIn encourages members to endorse others for their skills, don’t feel that you must champion people you can’t honestly vouch for, Scahill says.

Endorsements, which are a way for to you to easily recognize people with one click without writing a full-blown recommendation, are meant to be given by people who have direct knowledge of another person’s skills, she notes. “Only endorse someone if you know they have that skill because you have worked with them,” she cautions.

Seek recommendations from supervisors.

Accolades can be a great bonus on a profile, Scahill points out. They’re different than simple endorsements because they involve your connections writing a paragraph about you, subject to your approval, for your profile.

“It’s preferable to have a former manager write a [recommendation] for you rather than a co-worker,” she notes, “because it will make a stronger impression.”


Customize privacy settings.

People use LinkedIn for many reasons, so individuals will have different needs regarding privacy settings. If you’re hunting for a job and you don’t want your employer to find out, for instance, you might want to turn off your “activity broadcast,” Scahill suggests, so everything you do doesn’t pop up in the scrolling activity feed.

If you aren’t concerned about who sees your information, you can set your profile visibility to “everyone.” “You really have to decide what works best for you,” Scahill emphasizes, “depending on what your goals are at any given time. And be sure to revisit the settings if your situation changes.”


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