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10/25/2011
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9 LinkedIn Etiquette Tips

Consider this advice on how to put your best foot forward on the most business-like of social networks.

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LinkedIn hangs its hat on being the most business-like of the major public social networks (although Google+ is gunning for the title). As such, you can't behave the same on LinkedIn as you do on Facebook, where social rules the newsfeed. Consider this advice from social media experts and practitioners for minding your manners on LinkedIn.

Ask For Recommendations

"Instead of asking everyone you work with [to recommend you], choose a few people who can highlight the different services or experiences [you provided]. Ask Client A specifically for a recommendation on your speed of service; ask Customer B to write a recommendation mentioning your helpful staff. If you are a freelancer or are trying to fill your past work history, ask people for specific recommendations for specific projects you worked on with them. A recommendation that says, 'John is a really good worker,' doesn't hold as much weight as a recommendation that says, 'I worked with John on a project where his project management skills kept a large project on task and delivered the final project early.'"
--Amanda O'Brien, Hall Internet Marketing

"References shouldn't be requested until after you've been working in a position for six months or more. You don't want to pressure your colleagues to write a reference about someone they hardly know. This results in a poorly written, formulaic response that is not impressive or useful for your job search."
--Robin Reynolds, community manager, CouponCodes.com

[Through savvy use of LinkedIn, you may soon be on your way to a better job. Learn How To Catch Recruiters' Eyes On LinkedIn.]

"Don't just ask for recommendations. Be sure you write recommendations for people you can recommend highly."
--Wayne Breitbarth, author of "The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success: Kick-start Your Business, Brand, and Job Search"

Maintain A Professional Posture

"LinkedIn is not Facebook. Post updates and photos based on your job or profession. ... Please let what happens in Vegas stay in Vegas."
--Jenson Crawford, software engineering manager (job found via LinkedIn)

"In professional networking, it is better to give than to receive. LinkedIn is another avenue where one can practice generosity. You can help your colleagues by personally forwarding job vacancies to those connections where there's a good fit. This will broaden your company's hiring pool for talent while also [helping] your connections discover job opportunities. But this generous act also works to your benefit. It signals to your connections that you have an abundance of opportunity and there is enough to go around."
-- Jonathan Potter, IT delivery manager, Ford Motor Co.

Make Connections

"My one pet peeve on LinkedIn is receiving a connection request from someone who hasn't personalized the connection request template. That leaves me in the awkward position of having to ask them where or when our paths have previously crossed. A good example would be, 'We met a few months ago at the Marketing Association meeting, and I'd like to keep in touch.' I personally think LinkedIn would be better if they didn't provide that template at all, so people would have to write something."
-- Lauren Milligan, ResuMayDay

"I try to connect with people I've actually dealt with in a business context. I don't accept anonymous connection requests, nor do I accept connection requests from salespeople or recruiters who I haven't actually done business with. Just a short phone call is not a sufficient basis for establishing a connection in LinkedIn."
--Crawford

Messages

"Use LinkedIn messaging sparingly. Depending on how much mail a connection receives from LinkedIn, they may see it as spam and automatically delete. Better to utilize their email address, which is often visible on the profile page after connecting."
--Kelly Lux, online community manager and social media strategist, school of information studies at Syracuse University

Updates

"I suggest making status updates no more than a few times per day. This is not Twitter. The updates should provide helpful information to your network: interesting articles, websites, videos, events you are attending/hosting that your connections might be interested in attending, etc. If you have or know of a job opening, feel free to share this with your network.
-- Breitbarth

Have you ever committed a LinkedIn faux pas? Maybe you've been the one on whom the faux pas was committed? Let me know in the comments section below or by emailing me.

Attend Enterprise 2.0 Santa Clara, Nov. 14-17, 2011, and learn how to drive business value with collaboration, with an emphasis on how real customers are using social software to enable more productive workforces and to be more responsive and engaged with customers and business partners. Register today and save 30% off conference passes, or get a free expo pass with priority code CPHCES02. Find out more and register.

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