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How NOT to use LinkedIn–Part II

Last week, I shared a couple of key things NOT to do on LinkedIn.

linkedin-connect-dont-know

Again, I think LinkedIn is a phenomenal tool for research/information, networking, community collaboration, and job search. However, people frequently use LinkedIn in ways that are inappropriate–and can be damaging to their reputation.

Here’s a few more things NOT to do:

  • Only ask people to help YOU and never ask how you can help THEM. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve edited out of my network because the only reason they connected with me was to ask a favor (“Would you connect me to–?” “I’m looking at a job with _____ and I see you know someone there…”),  then never responded when I asked something of them later. That’s a transactional connection and not a useful one. That happens once with me–and then you’re deleted.
  • Drop the ball on following up when an important network connection sends you InMail. When an important networking connection–someone who has helped you in the past and would likely do so again in the future–emails you with a request (a reference, to make a connection, for information), make sure you respond. It doesn’t take a lot of time and it earns a lot of goodwill. You might not have time the day it hits your inbox, but make time the next.
  • Spam your network with useless updates. It’s great to share relevant content with your network. But you know those people that seem to do nothing else with their day than post crap to Facebook, spamming your feed until you click the “show less” button? Same thing applies to LinkedIn. Share what you think will add value to the people in your network.
  • Stalk people.  Forbes reported on LinkedIn stalking/harassment–and there is a Change.org petition requesting that LinkedIn add a blocking feature to protect users against stalkers seeing their updates. There’s even a Tumblr with screen captures of inappropriate messages/connection requests. No, I’m not suggesting that you, dear reader, are a stalker. But do know that people can see that you’ve been looking at their profile. Ensure that you have a valid reason to look someone up and connect with them.

LinkedIn is the online equivalent of an in-person professional conference or networking event. Apply the same level of judgement and professional etiquette as to how you approach and engage with people in both contexts and you should be fine. Treat it like some people do Facebook (we all know that person, don’t we?) and you might have a problem.

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August 2013
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