Friday, October 23, 2009

5 Ways To Waste Your LinkedIn Account

4. Not leveraging Groups

One of the most powerful features on LinkedIn is the LinkedIn Groups. Get involved! Join groups, specifically those which are relevantly niche to you area, are local, and have many members. Groups connect like-minded professionals. For example, if you are a Financial Analyst, chances are that there is a (local) group for you. By joining groups, you will receive regular correspondence from the group through email announcements and discussions, as well as job postings. If you are bold job seeker, you might want to use the group as a means of self-promotion by posting a concise few lines of who you are and what you are looking for. Please keep in mind that the position which you seek is consistent with the focus of the group. Groups are sometimes moderated and the group manager has the prerogative to screen posts which might not be consistent with the group’s focus. Many groups are open, but some require a preexisting organizational membership. There is also an often underused Jobs feature, through which postings on LinkedIn can be searched by keyword and geographic area.

5. Not being a good LinkedIn citizen

While you should be selective in terms of whose requests to connect that you will accept, if someone appears to be reasonable, give the person the benefit of the doubt. Being a good citizen might also mean responding to a question or posting a positive comment to someone else. You don’t want to be too loose though either. If someone sketchy asks for the email address of one of your 1st Degree connections, you might want to either forward the request or ask the target person for permission to share his/her email address. There are stalkers out there after all. Share congratulatory remarks when you hear of one of your 1st degree connections “announcing” a new position (often by way of the person simply updating his/her LinkedIn Profile). When a LinkedIn request of some sort comes to your email account, see what it is and act on it in whatever appropriate way is warranted. All of this presumes that you check your LinkedIn page on a regular basis to keep in-the-loop. All in all, LinkedIn is a not only a great tool if used properly and used often. But, it is an essential one to be in-the-game.

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Elliot D. Lasson Is Executive Director of Joblink of Maryland, a community-based nonprofit in Baltimore providing employment assistance to job seekers. An HR professional for over 20 years, Elliot holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from Wayne State University.

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