Don’t let an unmannerly act of unprofessionalism cost you the job of your dreams.
It seems everyone loves discussing etiquette and manners on popular social media sites. I’ve covered Facebook, Twitter and today I’m covering LinkedIn. YouTube? That’s a short one… don’t post a video of you being a moron. There. Done. Now, back to LinkedIn.
What is Proper LinkedIn Etiquette?
When it comes to manners and LinkedIn, there are many questions to consider: Whom do you accept? Whom do you reject? What title do you use? If you want to make sure your LinkedIn etiquette is up to snuff, check out my top three tips for being mannerly on LinkedIn:
Tip #1: Accept the Right People
On my article about Facebook, I touched on determining whether to accept or reject an old friend you hadn’t seen in years. Though LinkedIn is a somewhat similar site in nature, its power and influence are much more complex. LinkedIn is about networking and learning to hopefully advance your career. And when presenting yourself on LinkedIn, you want to make sure you are doing so the same way you would present yourself in an office setting.
So, do you accept everyone who wants to connect with you? The answer is “yes” if they meet your professional needs. That’s the question you should ask yourself. That doesn’t mean only connecting with people in your field. You never know when, say a graphics connection could help with business cards, or a lawyer connection could advise you on a legal question.
Now, where I wouldn’t accept is if the person has a shady history of bad business practices or questionable ethics that you wouldn’t want to be associated with. If your friend went to jail for money laundering 20 years ago, it may be okay to accept his friendship on Facebook, but on LinkedIn? When it comes to business--no matter how nice they are--this is a “no”. Bottom line: on LinkedIn you can make some incredible contacts but, don’t let someone’s bad reputation ruin your chances. The proper way to reject someone on LinkedIn is to simply not accept their request. You do not have to contact them with an answer back. If the person is hitting you up for a contact or a meeting and uses a request to do so, you can still answer their question in a message but not accept their request. Is that weird? Maybe. But then again, it’s your reputation, not theirs so you make the calls. If they ask you, “Why didn’t you accept my request?” Well, there is your answer – probably because you are the kind of person that would ask me that.
Tip #2: Be Active
I don’t care if you are the life of the party or a wallflower who barely says one word--when it comes to LinkedIn, you have to be active. Be friendly, be fun, join a group or two or ten! You never know who you are going to meet in a group on LinkedIn that might lead you to your next exciting career opportunity.