As graduation nears, public relations students are asking to connect via LinkedIn
and reaching out about potential job opportunities.
These recent activities reminded me that LinkedIn serves as an incredibly powerful tool for job seekers, but forgetting proper etiquette can hurt your chances of forming relationships and finding your first post-grad gig.
Inspired by a LinkedIn etiquette
post on the Frankly Faye blog, I compiled LinkedIn dos and don’ts geared toward career-hungry college seniors.
Do: Share a personal message when asking to connect (especially if you do not know the contact well).
I cannot stress this enough. Unless you’ve known the professional for years or worked together on a regular basis, you should always
include a personal message when connecting via LinkedIn.
LinkedIn's default message isn't personal and—let’s face it—most people don’t remember every face and name. If you haven’t chatted with the professional for several months, do the PR pro a favor by reminding him or her how you met.
Moreover, if you’ve never met the professional before, explain why you want to connect with him or her.
Bottom line: Many professionals will not accept your connection if you don’t give them a reason. It only takes a few extra minutes to write a personal message, so do it. A little effort goes a long way—and, to that end, always proofread your message.
Don’t: Cut straight to the chase.
If you’re a graduating senior, we know
you’re looking for a job. But if you approach a professional and ask him or her about job opportunities and nothing else, you’re going to burn the bridge.
It’s fine to mention that you’re job searching and looking for opportunities, but remember that the PR field is about relationships. Take time to build connections before asking professionals to help you find a job.
I’m willing to help anyone who takes time to connect and build a relationship with me, and I know my colleagues feel the same way. So reach out. Learn about the professional’s current responsibilities. Ask for job search advice. Seek on-the-job tips from the person.
Do: Fill out your entire profile.
I know recruiters who do more than half of their scouting through LinkedIn. Use this to your advantage by making it easy for them to find you.
Fill out your title. Add your industry. Write a short, concise summary using strategic keywords. Choose your skills and expertise tags.
Don’t: Connect your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
Unless 70 percent of your tweets focus on industry-specific links, sending tweets to your LinkedIn feed isn’t a savvy idea. If you tweet several times per day, you’re flooding your contacts’ LinkedIn feeds with information that may not be relevant.
As a student, do you really want your LinkedIn network to have direct access to what you’re eating for dinner that night? Do you want your drunken Thursday night tweets showing up on their LinkedIn feeds at 7 a.m. Friday morning?
Do: Give yourself the option of sharing relevant tweets with your LinkedIn network.
You can do so by adding the “#in” hashtag to your tweets. If you’re not sure how to enable this feature, check out Twitter’s tutorial
Rebecca Odell is the communications coordinator at Big Red Rooster, a multidimensional brand experience firm. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccaodell. A version of this story first appeared on the author’s blog & she rambles.