I have come across numerous articles on things that should and should not be done on most of the Social / Professional networking sites. Since most of these are written by experts from the western nations, not all would be applicable for the Indian LinkedIn user. As a person who landed his current job through LinkedIn, I feel it’s my duty to impart the “gyaan” (best practices/tid-bits/learnings) with fellow readers. Call it pleasing my Karma.
So here are the list of 7 things, one should keep in mind while using LinkedIn.
1) Don’t equate Facebook to LinkedIn
Facebook has had a history of privacy related issues. LinkedIn isn’t any better at this. But again, why should it? One’s LinkedIn account should be strictly professional.
I doubt if any recruiter would be interested in where you partied last night or how many beers you could chug down. I have seen people in my network actually work their twitter feed about the restaurant they are eating at or the IPL match you are watching.
Not only might this shoo away recruiters but also appears too unprofessional. If your Twitter account is connected to your LinkedIn updates, do think before you tweet!
2) Don’t ignore Privacy Settings
Just like every other networking sites, LinkedIn “attempts” to give you enough privacy options. To get to your privacy options, click on your name on the upper right corner of the LinkedIn page & select “Settings”. Scroll down the “Settings” page & select the Profile tab to see the available list of Privacy Options.
Make sure you have checked / unchecked the privacy options as per your need. My suggestion, limit the audience for the “Select who can see your activity feed” if you are planning to do a lot of job hunting through LinkedIn.
3) Don’t ignore Recommendations
It’s always a BIG plus to have recommendations on your profile. It is a sign of credibility and shows your colleagues are willing to endorse you. I always had difficulty asking for recommendations. Nevertheless, I got the opportunity to write recommendations for few of my previous colleagues.
The trick about getting credible recommendations is to know who to ask them from. The right time to ask for a recommendation is ideally soon after you left a job or after you completed a major project. The more you delay, people often forget the impact of your contribution and end up providing generic feedback.
Also another thing to void is getting too many recommendations at once. Plan the timing for asking feedback in such a way that a boss or nosy colleague doesn’t get suspicious seeing a sudden barrage of recommendations.
4) Too many profile updates
It is a good practice to keep your LinkedIn Profile updated. But quite often, we tend to do this only once we start hunting for a job. Unfortunately your Boss knows this too. So if you have your Boss on present colleagues on your LinkedIn list, ensure you do not have too many of your profile updates popping up on their homepage.
Make sure you update your profile often to avoid the sudden rush. Alternatively you can limit the audience of your updates by adjusting your privacy settings as I have explained in point #2.
5) Have a profile picture
A picture adds more value than you can imagine. How many times have you denied an add request because the person didn’t have a profile picture. A picture brings in credibility and a trust value, even on a professional network.
It goes without say that your profile pic should actually look professional. If you don’t have one, get one taken, it’s worth the trouble. Avoid pictures which have been cropped out from a group picture and especially in casual clothing. I know all of us always want to try our Photoshop skills on profile pictures. Though it might give you a lot of “Likes” on Facebook, it might not go so well on LinkedIn.
6) Do not lie
Might seem obvious but after seeing many profiles on LinkedIn, I doubt if it’s clear enough. Just like your resume, your LinkedIn profile should be accurate, crisp and things which you can validate with proofs.
Think of your LinkedIn profile as your online resume & there is nothing worse than getting caught lying. It was just last week that Yahoo’s CEO Scott Thompson was in a controversy regarding the authenticity of his Computer Science Degree. Corporates can be very particular about this & one can easily get blacklisted within HR networks if caught.
7) Keep the details
Now, I know in my last point I asked you to keep things crisp, but describing your role in just 2-3words can again be misleading. It is essential to let the reader ie; often an interested recruiter know what exactly you do without being too words.
Terms like “Process Specialist”, “Technological Expert” without any additional details provided would mean different in different companies. Below each title, it’s always good to have a crisp, small description of what you exactly did in that particular role. After all, this is a place you get the advertise yourself, so make the most of it!
These are again just a few things to always keep in the back of your mind while managing your Social / Professional Network. I am sure most of you have more interesting ideas. Do share it with us in the comments section below.
[About the Author: Abhijith Jayakumar is a Principal Consultant with a leading IP Development company in India. A Six Sigma Quality enthusiast, he has over 6years of experience in Management, Quality, Six Sigma & Risk Management. You can follow Abhijith at ]
Suggested Reading: How to Brand Yourself on Linkedin