The 20 Golden Rules of LinkedIn
With 750 million+ members, LinkedIn presents an enormous opportunity to:
- Keep in touch with people you know
- Share ideas
- Build your career.
But there is a right and wrong way to use LinkedIn.
And only by following our 20 golden rules of LinkedIn can you unlock its true potential!
Read on or use the table of contents to ‘jump’ to a specific section in the post.
Table of Contents
1. Understand What LinkedIn is
- Primary tool for finding the right job or internship
- Connection tool to build professional relationships
- Learn the skills you need to succeed in your career.
- Inject personality
- Be an individual.
LinkedIn is also a fantastic tool for staying on the ‘pulse’ by discovering key insights, trends and research on the marketing landscape today.
Takeaway: Don’t confuse LinkedIn with other social media platforms. Because whilst LinkedIn is becoming more like them (even the new Facebook), it will always hold its place in the market as the leading professional platform.
2. Understand That All LinkedIn People are Different
- Each LinkedIn user is unique and may use the platform differently to you
- For example: Don’t expect everyone to network like you do
- Being different establishes identity.
- Not everyone might be a networker (eight signs of a bad one here)
- Expect time delays in responses (psychology behind it explained here by Forbes)
- Relationships aren’t always reciprocal (even though these aren’t relationships at all).
3. Put Others First on LinkedIn
- The best leaders put the needs of others before their own
- So don’t boast too much
- Example of what not to do: Only requesting recommendations.
- Stimulation of the brain’s pleasure pathways and makes you feel good
- Helping others is contagious (and improves other people’s lives)
- Makes you a better, happier person
- Builds stronger social connections
- Improves your physical health.
4. Play By LinkedIn Rules
- Spamming is not allowed
- Don’t send unsolicited direct messages
- Multiple profiles are a big no.
5. Be Professional
- Be accountable for your actions
- Set a high standard and maintain this standard
- Understand the platform is for professional and not personal posts.
- Getting recommendations/referrals/endorsements from only people you know
- Avoiding reposting photos from another social media platform
- Not adding connections to your email list.
- Connection and recommendation requests
- Check and reply to comments
- Send a welcome/thank you message.
- Don’t be lazy when sending invitations to connect
- Don’t send the same message to everyone
- Don’t use templates (unless you must or can make them work).
7. Have Etiquette & Be Polite
- Send only relevant messages
- Avoid sending blind connection requests
- Never pitch to strangers.
- Sending requests to people they don’t know
- Bugging new contacts
- Harvesting people’s emails and adding them to their mailing list.
- Respond to all messages
- Give all messages equal importance
- Avoid sending messages that would be better off left unsent.
8. Take a Long-Term Approach
- Patience is key
- Don’t expect overnight success
- Rewards are greater with a long-term approach.
9. Be Honest & Timely
- Never lie as it only takes one lie to tarnish your reputation
- Example of a lie: Embellishing your background in any way
- Being timely is productive (and the quicker path to success).
- Respond as soon as you can
- Try to have a 24-hour rule in responding (if possible)
- Inspire and make happen (because results come sooner).
10. Proofread Everything & Think Before Sharing
- Goes beyond spelling and grammar
- Ensures accuracy and meaning will be expressed as you intended.
- Maintain your credibility, levels of professionalism and high standards.
11. Show Energy, Be an Individual and Add Value
- Having direction creates energy
- Stand out from the pack
- Clearly project benefits.
- Be lazy about regularly updating your profile
- Post self-serving content
- Forget to connect with all people you meet or want to meet.
12. Don't Burn Bridges
- Bad look
- Often irreversible damage
- Closes opportunities.
- Trashing recruiters
- Badmouthing past employers
- Having negative things to say about anyone.
13. Always Express Gratitude
- Say thank you more often
- Opens the door to build more professional relationships
- Example of gratitude: Saying thank you to a connection after asking them for a favour.
- When you ask for advice (and receive a thoughtful answer)
- At a networking event (where someone introduces you)
- Acknowledging someone at work (for taking the initiative to ease your workload).
14. Ensure Relevancy & Speak The Right Language
- Critical for success
- Key to understanding your audience
- So for example: Don’t include awards not relevant now.
- Using clear and concise language
- Avoiding formal/business speak/jargon
- Persuading by showing not telling.
15. Get The Basics of LinkedIn Right
- Get a high-quality/current professional photo
- Have a winning headline
- Put enough time into your profile.
16. Utilise LinkedIn Effectively & Have a Complete Profile
- Get a personalised URL
- Regularly check your LinkedIn inbox for important opportunities
- Download the LinkedIn app.
- Contact information (as a starting point).
17. Keep All Information Accurate and Up To Date
- Keep your profile complete and current
- Apply for jobs only after updating your profile
- Update your profile (and headline) after you receive an award/recognition.
- Don’t have multiple current jobs
- Leave out chunks of your employment history (a big no)
- Omit any of your former employers and schools.
18. Be Visible & Consistent
- Stay logged in and be active
- Keep your public profile visible
- Post content regularly (and more than just text).
19. Be Proactive to Build Professional Relationships
- Actively engage with your connections
- Take the initiative and don’t be reactive
- Proactive approach keeps you prominent in people’s minds.
20. Choose Quality over Quantity
- Avoid posting status updates too often (and only post what is useful)
- Do not send connection requests to everyone (it’s not a numbers game)
- Have meaning with your connections (so more is not always better).
- Professional (5.)
- Personalised (6.)
- Value driven (11.).
Bonus LinkedIn Knowledge
Be Careful when Editing
- You’re edits can be publicly viewable unless you change settings
- Example 1: Turn off your activity broadcasts
- Example 2: Edit your sharing profile settings when you are making major changes to your profile.
Be Trusting but Cautious
- Don’t connect with random strangers
- Not all recommendations/endorsements are true
- Avoid clicking on something too quickly from LinkedIn.
American baseball player Jackie Robinson once said: “A life is not important except in the impact is has on other lives.”
So take inspiration from this to impact on other professionals using LinkedIn.
And maximise this impact by following the 20 golden rules to LinkedIn – that will make or break you!
Over to You…
Do you agree with The 20 Golden Rules of LinkedIn? Or is there something missing, or you would like to add?? Would love to hear from you in the comments – any feedback is greatly appreciated.
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