The job search is a job in itself. The objective is to find meaningful work. Therefore, the seeker must always go the extra mile not-to-step on a potential employer’s toes and to stay ahead of their competition.
As a career coach, I notice anything that helps or hinders my clients. I’m always seeking ways to give them a competitive edge. Etiquette is one of those ways.
Occasionally those use to Facebook and Twitter, but new to LinkedIn may unintentionally break common etiquette customs and turn off potential job-searchers. LinkedIn is a professional networking site and should be treated as such. Proper etiquette is essential for everyone, especially job seekers. Job seekers should heed my advice.
1. Integrity Rules
Reputable organizations and companies seek candidates who they can trust. The easiest way to break trust on LinkedIn is dishonesty. Your bio, jobs, skills, education and such must be spot-on in describing who you are as a person and a candidate.
2. Use a Professional Profile Photo
The photo is the first thing searchers see. LinkedIn is a professional network; thus, its users should look professional. This is especially the case for those looking for employment in order to attract recruiters.
Your credibility and attractiveness are worth paying a professional photographer to present you in the best light. I recommend a professional headshot with a neutral (non-busy) background, either straight-on or looking to your left. Do not use a younger photo or doctor you photo because when you show up to your interviewers may be turned-off by your misrepresentation.
3. Share Status Updates & Posts Prudently
Do not overwhelm your audience with too many updates/posts or they might consider you a pest and skip you future posts; the worst case scenario is that they delete you. Your posts should be something that are well received and looked forward to.
A good rule of thumb for me is at or below 2 posts per day; however, there are a rare times that I will exceed this for good reason. Further, do not be a stranger! Try to regularly share. As a job seeker, you must be visible.
Note: Turn off your network notifications (see right sidebar in “edit profile”) while working on your profile. Otherwise, your entire network will be notified every time you make a change.
4. Keep Posts Professional
Posts should be professional and job related. LinkedIn is not the place to share your social life. Also, controversial topics, rudeness, and negativity can be detrimental to your job search. A good question to ask yourself before posting or sharing is, “Does this post help my audience know about me professionally and/or benefit my audience?
5. Personalize Connection Request
If someone is important enough for you to want to connect, that person is important enough to receive a personalized invite. Although LinkedIn provides a generic template, I advise to try not to use it.
6. Personalize Recommendations
Recommendations are thought highly of by recruiters and weigh heavily in searches. Recommendations, therefore, allow you to float to the top of recruiter searches. Strong, positive, keyword-rich recommendations testifying to your work and attributes will give you an edge over a competitor without such recommendations. Ask those who know you individually and who provide honest feedback for recommendations never those who do not know you. As with connections, use a personalized request rather than the LinkedIn generic template.
7. Reciprocate Endorsement & Recommendations
A good way to get endorsements and recommendations is to give them. When you get a recommendation it is a common courtesy is to return the favor. This is networking at its best, people helping each other!
8. Build Rapport Before Asking Favors
Ideally, you should build a relationship before asking favors; occasionally, circumstances may alter this, but beware of negative consequences. The foundational rule of rapport is that people like people who are like themselves. Therefore, finding commonalities and participating in the same group will more likely help your cause.
9. Yes, Connect With Hiring Managers/Recruiters
Job search is no time to take a “wait for them to come to me” attitude. Recruiters and hiring managers who are on LinkedIn expect potential candidates to respectfully reach out, especially when a job is posted.
10. Use The Space LinkedIn Provides
In your summary you have a 2000-character space to sell yourself. Your headline, which I think of as a billboard advertisement, provides space for 120 characters. Take advantage if this space!