LinkedIn Etiquette – it’s a minefield.

Get a great headshot

We all know that a picture says a thousand words, so believe me, it’s worth paying a professional photographer for a decent photo (find one through a LinkedIn recommendation!).  Don’t make the rookie mistake of trying to save money by photoshopping a holiday snap, it really won’t show you in a professional light.


Get a great headline

An eye-catching headline will draw you in.  Who, for example, can forget “Gotcha”?  While I’m not expecting you imitate The Sun, I strongly recommend that the summary field of your LinkedIn page is concise, engaging and specific.  People simply won’t waste their time ploughing through tedious waffle to get to the experience section and your career success will not receive the attention it deserves.  My best advise is say who you are, what you do and why you’re unique.


Sharpen up your bio

Honesty is essential as your profile will be viewed by your bosses, colleagues, customers and potential customers.  Accentuate strengths and career highlights and provide context around your job responsibilities.  Don’t forget that unlike a standard CV, a LinkedIn profile attracts a wide range of people, so you be ruthless in summarising points you think might satisfy a variety of sectors connected to your industry, and that interest you.  Get the LinkedIn URL you want; most will have a slash and then your name (/your name).  Try to get yours registered quickly as names are not always unique. If you want to use all aspects of LinkedIn, allow people to search for you and examine your career experience, make sure your LinkedIn profile is public (check in account settings).  Remember if Google can’t see you then neither can anyone else!


Contacting and connecting

How to connect effectively falls into two camps.  The LinkedIn organisation believes you should know your contacts before you connect.  It argues that it reflects badly on you if you don’t actually know the people on your contact list and if someone you know asks you to connect with one of your contacts you look unprofessional.  At the other end of the spectrum sit the LinkedIn Open Networkers, who will generally connect with almost anyone (whether they know them or not). LinkedIn discourages the use of the “I don’t know” button, which was designed to discourage random, unknown connections.  If you are the one sending a connection, make sure you personalise the standard invitation, especially if you don’t know the person very well or think that their memory might need prodding!  Even if they decline it, they’ll be less likely to hit the dreaded “I don’t know” button.  Don’t forget to make your connection list public, otherwise you are defeating LinkedIn’s raison d’etre.  As a social network, there isn’t anything more unsocial than not allowing your contacts to connect with one another. The only exception is if you feel showing your connections would undermine your company’s competitive advantage.


Recommend and be recommended

This feature can be a powerful way to show that your work has been endorsed by influential people and decision makers.  I suggest a “360 degree strategy” that shows how you do your job, who your customers are, who you work with and who you work for.  If you want managers, peers and clients to recommend you, these must be people who know you well and who can speak honestly about your competencies. Though it’s nice to be recommended, it’s vital to build up your own social capital by recommending others.  Good LinkedIn etiquette suggests that what goes around comes around.  If you write a good recommendation for a colleague/client/peer, odds are they will do the same for you in the future.


I hope you have found this blog useful.  If Ali Unlimited can be of any help or you would like to leave a comment we would love to hear from you.


Alison Penfold

Joining up the dots for you ..... often creating calm out of chaos.

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