The Dos and Don’ts of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a far cry from the circle-and-tear classified ads of yesteryear. The networking website lets users connect with long-lost bosses and colleagues, browse job postings, and discuss relevant articles pertaining to their field of work.

As much as the career networking website does simplify the process, though, it is not to say that it doesn’t come with its share of caveats. So be smart about your LinkedIn profile with these dos and don’ts and you’ll get the most out of the site.

Do brand yourself. Make it known that you see yourself as skilled and unique in the area you are interested in. Get endorsed by people in your field, post the relevant positions you have held, and be brief but descriptive in your experience and skills.

Don’t dominate boards. The argumentative poster in comment sections on articles and discussion boards does not come across as someone employers would want sitting across from them in the meeting room. Treat these areas of LinkedIn like you would interactions in the workplace.

Do stay professional. As much as LinkedIn gets categorized as social media, the better term for it would be professional media. Your LinkedIn profile should not be rife with pictures of your kids, you on vacation, your NFL team, etc. Instead, it should be a simple reflection of your career interests, your education, and your skills and experience.

Don’t let your profile get out-dated. Sitting on your LinkedIn profile without tending to it can cause information to expire and become inaccurate. Make sure your profile is up to date (even when you are employed) to keep fellow networkers coming your way.

Do reach out. You never know when you’ll find out that the company you’re applying to just happens to have a certain college friend, or college friend’s parent as the Director of Recruitment. Build your network as far as you can and don’t be weary of initiating contact, even if you’re just getting started.

Don’t rely solely on LinkedIn. As much as the site helps to build your network, it is also important to practice temperament when using it. 1) it’s still the internet, and not everything you see will turn out to be exactly what you think it is and 2) just because LinkedIn is so widely used does not mean there aren’t still other ways to get a job, including other sites and tools and old-school job applications.

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