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7 common mistakes job seekers make on LinkedIn

Matt Kapko | March 2, 2015
LinkedIn serves hundreds of millions of members, all of whom want to improve their careers in one way or another. In the final installment of our four-part Social Media Rules of Engagement series, CIO.com's Matt Kapko shares advice on how to ensure you don't inadvertently hurt your job prospects by misusing the service.

linkedin

One of the best, and most important, things about social media is that there are no hard and fast rules. Social media is what you make of it, and there's no right or wrong way to use it.

However, some social networks are better-suited for certain activities than others. LinkedIn has more than 300 million members looking to connect, network and improve their careers. The platform also saw the number of active job listings increase tenfold during the last year, to 3 million current openings.

LinkedIn is on a mission to have every job in the world listed on its site. Meanwhile, its self-publishing platform surpassed a million long-form posts, and LinkedIn users collectively publish around 50,000 posts per week.

The site serves many different purposes for individuals and businesses with varying skillsets and objectives. As the platform grows, it becomes more important -- and more challenging -- to get the most out of LinkedIn without annoying or alienating fellow members.

Thankfully, we're here to help with the following LinkedIn rules of engagement.

No One Likes a LinkedIn Cold Call
LinkedIn represents an invaluable opportunity for its members to connect with like-minded individuals and businesses, but sometimes it's easy to lose sight of how best to establish those connections.

No one likes to receive a cold call out of the blue, and the same is true for random connection requests on LinkedIn. Try to be considerate of peoples' time (and, perhaps, their foggy memories) by making sure that recipients know who you are, or at least why think connecting on LinkedIn will result in meaningful value for all parties.

Maybe you both work in the same industry or share mutual connections. If so, so say in your connection request, but don't assume fellow LinkedIn members want to connect based on these things alone. Explain why you want to connect, and do your best to make your connection request seem valuable.

Don't Get Too Personal on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is not the place to talk about your hectic morning, rehash arguments with your spouse or share anything else you wouldn't typically discuss with colleagues and other professionals. It's OK to show some personality, but consider how your posts affect the way you're perceived on LinkedIn.

Use LinkedIn to showcase your proudest achievements, as well as any relevant work experience that demonstrates your skills and value in the workforce, but save the personal details for other social networks.

Be Selective With LinkedIn Invites
LinkedIn has a funny way of tricking its users into sending invites to contacts that aren't yet members. When you connect an address book to LinkedIn, the site automatically populates a list of contacts who are already members so it's easy to initiate connect. However, it also lets users invite non-LinkedIn members to join the service. It can difficult to differentiate between the two options, particularly when they appear side by side or in the same list.

 

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