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How Not To Suck at LinkedIn: 2014 Edition

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Originally posted 2014-11-28 11:22:11. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Bob gets an assist on writing this one.  What started as an update to an earlier entry I wrote in 2012 became one of the presentations that we’ve done for several groups now, from MEDC’s Shifting Gears classes to an SMCD EDU event among others.

Much like The 10 Commandments of Networking and The 10 Commandments of Job Search, it’s conversational in nature, and designed to help you get the most out of your time spent on LinkedIn and how to avoid some common pitfalls that we’ve seen all too often.

So let’s get started with How Not To Suck At LinkedIn…

BE A GARDENER

The first rule of not sucking at LinkedIn is that if all you ever do is sign up and nothing more, you’re absolutely going to suck at LinkedIn, and you’re also going to hate it.

gardeniingThink of it like gardening:

  • Seed (Build profile)
  • Feed (Join groups)
  • Fertilize (Participate)
  • Grow (Connect)
  • Harvest (Meet goals)

Seems like a pretty simple concept, but we’re constantly surprised by the number of people who simply join and stagnate.  You can’t just throw seeds out in some dirt and hope for the best. Well, you can…but you’d better have take-out on speed dial to avoid starvation.

THE HEADLINE MAKES THE STORY

Your tagline matters.  It tells people who you are and what you do…or at least it’s supposed to.  Keep it professional, and don’t put anything in there that could be an instant turn-off to someone viewing your profile.  Leave the politics, religion, and yes, even your sports teams at home.

A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

We’re somewhat horrified that we have to tell people this…but, well, we have to tell people this.

LinkedIn is not Facebook.  It is not Tindr.  It is not Match.com.  For the love of all that’s good and holy in the world, have a respectable photo, and don’t be these guys…

BE COMPLETE

trashdbtgYour work history should be a cut and paste of your resume.

Make sure everything is based on personal email address – your LinkedIn profile is yours, not your employers.  Don’t get stuck losing access to your account because you leave a job.  Alternate addresses are fine, but own your profile.  Ensure accomplishments, awards, etc. are professional only…in other words, keep the bowling trophies and Facebook profiles at home.

LINKEDIN IS NOT A VIDEO GAME

bpart_hypothesis2There are a few key things you need to know about connections:

– There’s no prize for a high score.

– You are absolutely judged by the company you keep.

– Understand and tier your connections.

We’ve written in depth on those topics before.  Go read LinkedIn is Not a Video Game at http://www.itinthed.com/7382/linkedin-is-not-a-video-game/ and The Bachelor Party Hypothesis at http://www.itinthed.com/3316/the-bachelor-party-hypothesis/ for more information.

DON’T MAKE THE OTHER PERSON THINK

nodefaultThe “standard” connection request on LinkedIn sucks.  It’s vanilla.  It’s lame.  It says “I can’t be bothered to take eight seconds to be original.”

Don’t make me think when you send me a connection request.

Include where we met, a snippet of what we talked about, or at a minimum, why connecting with you is something I would want to do.

DON’T TALK JUST TO HEAR YOURSELF

notinspiredYour status updates on LinkedIn say a lot about you, and remember – this is your professional network, not your Facebook buddies or your Twitter followers.

Leave the political rants for elsewhere, and if your network cared about what you were having for lunch, they’d be joining you for lunch.

And for the love of all that’s good and holy in the world, stop…STOP…with the inspirational quotes…

ENDORSEMENTS.  THEY MIGHT SUCK.

endorsesuckLook…nobody understands endorsements.  Not you, not us, probably not even the people who wrote the code that enables that feature.

They’re dumb.  You can pay people to artificially inflate them.

They’re nothing more than LinkedIn trying to adapt to the attention deficit disorder addled society these days by putting something “quick” and “easy” out there instead of Endorsements, which actually take some time and require you to think about what you’re saying about the other person.

PREMIUM.  WE DON’T GET IT*

LIfreemiumWhy pay to play?

We saw very little additional value when we tried it out.  Because yes, we tried it out.

We saw a marked increase in received spam from non-connections.

We decided it just wasn’t worth it for us.

The best analogy we could come up with for the experience was “freemium” games…and, well, South Park will tell you everything you need about that topic here: http://southpark.cc.com/full-episodes/s18e06-freemium-isnt-free

*Your mileage may vary

…and that brings us to a wrap this time around.  As with our other presentations, naturally, there’s more content, more slides, and more in-depth discussion…but we try and keep things shorter here online to just get the basic points across.

That’s all for this time.  Go read something else: http://www.itinthed.com/read/

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