29 February, 2016
You could think of LinkedIn as a huge database or a research tool for job-seekers and business-developers. LinkedIn is certainly both of those things. You could think of LinkedIn as an online public square where people can post billboards about themselves and their services.
You could also think of LinkedIn as a networking event that happens online and goes on forever. When you’re thinking about your interactions on LinkedIn in the context of a live networking event, you’ll quickly see that there are certain networking overtures that are more polite than others!
You don’t want to be viewed as or labeled a rude networker, so be careful not to overstep the bounds of politeness on LinkedIn. Here are ten things never to do on LinkedIn:
- Never send someone a connection invitation and then, the minute they join your network, send them a request for them to introduce you to someone they know. There is no better way to signal “You’re just a means to my end!”
- Never ask people beyond your dear friends to endorse your Skills on LinkedIn (including writing to them to say “I’ve endorsed your Skills – now you endorse mine!”).
- Don’t send someone a connection invitation simply in order to write to them a few days later to ask about job opportunities at their company. They will tell you “Look at the company website.” That could have been your first move — that, or researching the organization in order to identify your particular hiring manager and send him or her a Pain Letter.
- If you’re a Business Development person, don’t send someone a connection invitation merely in order to hit them with a sales pitch the minute they join your network.
- Don’t use an InMail when you have a mutual connection and could ask your mutual connecting-person for an introduction. What else are introductions for?
- Please don’t view your first-degree connections’ lists of contacts, then email or call those people and say “We know Joe Schmoe in common – let’s talk!” Why not ask Joe for an introduction, instead?
- Don’t invite people to connect with you in order to get their email address so you can add them to your newsletter subscriber list.
- When you’re job-hunting, wait until you get to the end of the process before inviting the people you met on job interviews to connect with you on LinkedIn. If you get the job, they’ll be your co-workers. If you don’t get the job, you can send a quick thank-you email message once the recruiting process is finished. In that message you can ask “May I send you a LinkedIn invitation?”
- Don’t assume that everyone in your first-degree network is dying to become a referral source for you, as well. Ask permission before sending your business messages into their LinkedIn inboxes.
- Lastly, remember that everyone is information-overloaded and overwhelmed. Everyone’s To-Do list is long. Don’t tax the kindness of strangers, near-strangers or casual business acquaintances, and you’ll keep your networking reputation pristine!