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CONVERGE | Technology

Social Etiquette Series: The Do’s and Don'ts of LinkedIn

February 11, 2019

Ready to take your career to the next level? First, learn the do’s and don’ts of LinkedIn.



In a world saturated with social media platforms, it can be confusing to remember all the rules of social etiquette. That’s where Cox can help. 


Our social etiquette series can help you navigate the open (and confusing) roads of professional social platforms. Professional presence can spark career advancements, job opportunities, thought leadership, and peer collaboration. Of the many social platforms, LinkedIn leads the way in doing just this. 


But, what should (or shouldn’t) you be doing, sharing, and saying on this site? Here are the (unspoken) do’s and don'ts of LinkedIn. 


Don’t Send Connection Requests without Customizing a Message


LinkedIn is all about connecting with peers from your past, present, and potential future. But, when sending a connection request, be sure to include a customized message. While this may not be necessary for close friends or current coworkers, older peers may not remember you as well as you remember them. Similarly, strangers will want to know why you’re requesting to connect.


With just one or two sentences, you can remind users how you’re connected, or how you hope to become connected down the line. 


Don’t Talk About Anything Non-Business Related


LinkedIn and Facebook are not one and the same. LinkedIn isn’t the place to chat about your favorite live TV shows, share your political views or post family photos. Keep those conversations on your Facebook or Twitter feeds. 


When it comes to LinkedIn, you shouldn’t post anything that you wouldn’t want your boss or a job recruiter to see (because they might). Likewise, you shouldn’t like or comment on other user’s content if it is inappropriate, as it can be a poor reflection on your character. This includes heated debates, negative comments, or risqué photos. A good rule of thumb is to always keep everything on LinkedIn professional and appropriate.


Don’t Go Dark


Even if you don’t have anything to share, don’t go dark on LinkedIn. Engage with your connections by liking and commenting on their posts. The more you post, the more people will see your content


The result? 


A higher chance of opportunities down the line. Most importantly, posting content gives prospective recruiters more information to work with. Your posts can give them insight into your personality and work ethic. In other words, post away (often and appropriately) and it might be pay off in the future. 


Do Use a Professional Headshot


First impressions last, so make them count. Your profile picture is the first thing that users see before clicking into your profile. As so, it should be clean, professional, and appropriate. If you’re still using a cropped picture from last year’s July 4th party, you should reconsider your options. A professional headshot can better appeal to prospective recruiters while also giving your network a better understanding of your work ethic. For example, a smile can portray approachability while a serious demise may illustrate confidence. Whatever expression you choose, make sure it’s accentuated with a business professional outfit and neutral background.


Do Respond to Comments and Messages


When someone sends you a text, you likely feel obliged to respond. The same should be said for LinkedIn messages and comments. Ignoring messages is not only impolite, but it can also hurt your reputation down the line. 


Of course, the exception to this rule is if you receive messages that you feel are inappropriate, unprofessional or unwarranted. Those deserve a swift and intentional *delete*. 


We’re talking about the professional, job-centric messages we so often receive from recruiters, sales professionals, etc. Even if you’re happy in your current job, they still deserve a response for doing theirs. A quick “thanks, but no thanks” is sufficient enough, because you never know who could be a helpful connection if you decide to change careers down the line. 


When it comes to comments, it’s important to remember that your entire network (and beyond) has visibility into your posts. So, make a good impression for the world to see and always write back.


Ready to take your career to the next level? With these tips in your pocket, you can navigate the world of LinkedIn confidently and score the next, big opportunity that comes your way.


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