Use LinkedIn The Right Way

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Do you know that LinkedIn is not a job portal?

There is no denying the fact that LinkedIn is a social networking site but how do you ascertain that you are using it well and in the right manner?

Your profile may show hundreds of connections but is it the number that matters?

With hiring strategies changing rapidly, it is important to understand the difference between a job search portal and a professional social network. Whether you are an active job seeker or a passive one, an active professional network gives you an edge over others. Your potential recruiters may also hop on to your professional profile and match it up to what you have mentioned in your resume. Your level of activity and engagement is also another way of profiling and firming up your candidature. Remember, the information you choose to put up on your profile could be primary source of data or additional data.

Why are you here? Never forget that a professional network is different from any other social media. You don’t log on to this one to make new friends, date or find a life partner. Like most people, you are logged in for the sake of your career. Random personal messages to strangers will do you no good. 

Profile Picture: Your picture is the one of the first things that gets noticed when one looks you up on the network.

  • Have a picture.
  • Use good head shots.
  • A non-cluttered background is preferred.
  • Strict no to pouts, and selfies.
  • Avoid random pictures like that of a cartoon character. It’s your career and not your pets’.
  • No mountains in Ladakh, that Bokeh effect you tried or a silhouette. 

Keep your profile live:  Surge of activities after lying dormant is noticeable on the activity stream. 

There are two things to be conscious of here:

  • Manage your privacy settings better – you can choose to select who sees what update. Be wise.
  • Don’t start connecting with people only when you are actively looking for a job.

It’s important to log on to your profile once or twice a week, clean up messages, connect with peers, ex-colleagues and yes, keep your profile up-to-date. If you are not working at where your online profile says – people will end up congratulating you as you pile up years in your ex-organization. If you are someone who would not want to use the network, deactivate but no point keeping it irrelevant.

Connections: If you are just starting, begin but connecting with your closed circle of colleagues. People have different ways of connecting on the network. I do not connect with one and all. If we have worked, studied or attended a session together and we have at least met once, I would be happy to connect but otherwise I don’t just keep adding people. Try to put some thought to sending requests. If you think the person may not remember you, write a line to introduce yourself or have your connection introduce you. 

Career Experiences: Your profile should talk about your career experiences. Your profile with a right heading and action words indicates your online presence matters to you. Take a minute or two and clean up the summary on your profile. As a potential employer, it’s a great one way to know what your current area of expertise is.

Recommendations: Ask for recommendations and do not hesitate to recommend an old boss or a peer. If you ask for one, be ready to give one away. Well written recommendations are a good way to have those stars on profile. Plus they indicate you are a good talent and people are ready to write a few lines about you. 

What to Share: I find those puzzles really annoying. Why would you want to share a logical reasoning question on your profile and seek answers? Instead share articles that are relevant to the work you do, news from the industry, or a best practice you have come across. A picture of people sitting of a cliff with a caption saying “Performance Management and what it means” is not funny. You want to write a poem on love – use your blog. Here, show case your editorial columns and talk about accolades if you are an editor. 

You will learn as you go but don’t just believe that your resume can accommodate everything. Your resume needs to be crisp but your LinkedIn profile can truly tell your story. That could include your promotions, change in jobs, and locations you have worked at. Be careful with editing as well. Remember that if you want an online presence, which is important these days – do it judiciously and invest your time to build upon it. Only then you can expect to reap benefits.

Would you have a tip for me on how to use LinkedIn better? Do share!

Picked as a "Spicy Saturday" Read on August 30, 2015

Picked as a “Spicy Saturday” Read on February 27, 2016

25 Responses

  1. Sreesha says:

    This is superb. The way you’ve laid it all out is so useful. That line about it not being your pet’s career totally cracked me up!
    That said though, people have started using it as any other social networking site. This is getting annoying. And sad to say this but a lot of bloggers with personal blogs are linking in here, and suddenly all these poems crop up on their professional network. I really feel it’s unnecessary – your blog need not be a part of your career highlights – compartmentalize!
    I usually add only those I know on other forms of social media. But on LinkedIn, if I receive a request and if I see they have an active profile and share interesting articles, I end up adding them. Only cos I still think of it as a “professional network” and by that I mean, not a place to “fool around.” But sadly, the “let’s frandship” brigade has arrived on LinkedIn now as well :\
    Oh why oh why, can’t people use all this responsibly and to their benefit!
    Sreesha recently posted…The Town That Everyone LeftMy Profile

  2. Aseem says:

    Adding on to that, I would say one can also make good use of writing posts as well as joining like minded groups on Linkedin. Through these groups and the posts you write, you get to interact with a lot of like minded individuals.

    Additionally, I wouldn’t say that Linkedin is not a job portal since it does have a fairly extensive list of jobs. But yes, you need to have all the points updated in your profile and then it makes sense to apply for jobs. Or if your profile is good enough, HRs will directly reach out to you :).

    Honestly what irritates me on Linkedin is seeing the way some people use it as if it’s Facebook or some other social media site. I am also put off when people start commenting with their numbers, email IDs on statuses which read “If looking for a job in ……, please put in your details in the comments below and we will look at your profile” Like really? :O
    Aseem recently posted…I want to take my blog to the next level #BlogchatterMy Profile

  3. Great points Parul 🙂
    Archana Kapoor recently posted…Haiku: Spring is hereMy Profile

  4. Chaitali says:

    You totally nailed it in this article.

  5. Configcrazy says:

    Quite a good article. Brilliantly covered many aspects how to keep our LinkedIn less cluttered yet professional. We need to update our LinkedIn profile too after reading this. Thank you for such an article 🙂
    Configcrazy recently posted…#ConfigFact 1 to 10My Profile

  6. BlogAdda says:

    Congratulations! Your blog post was selected for Spicy Saturday Picks edition edition on Feb 27, 2016 at BlogAdda.

    Please find it here:

  7. Geets says:

    I made a Linked profile long back, probably in graduation years. Looks like time has come to declutter. Oops, but I doubt I remember its id and password! Well, I am really looking forward to making a new profile. Thanks for sharing those tips!

    Geets recently posted…Reasons I hear for Having a Baby right away! #MondayMusingsMy Profile

  8. Ramya says:

    i still break my head on using Linkedin…. Just cant get to get the hang of it. !!

  9. Thanks Parul, for enlightening me with some knowledge about LinkedIn. I generally don’t use social media much because I have very very limited contacts. Sometimes I feel this could be the reason why I can’t succeed in life because I don’t have enough people on my contact list, but then I have seen people with more contacts failing as well.

  10. Shilpa Garg says:

    LinkedIn is a fab site for professional networking. Was active quite some time ago now I am dormant on it. It really helped when I was looking for a change of job. The recommendations help a lot too. People really need to use it well.

  11. People can live without technology but not without their ego!
    Nisha Sanjeev recently posted…Bewitching BitchweedMy Profile

  12. Vishal says:

    Whatever you have mentioned people shouldn’t do is exactly what they do. They can’t get it into their heads that LinkedIn is a social networking platform with a different purpose. Even here, people brag about the number of their connections, however irrelevant, and post status updates like they are on Facebook. And one thing that really puts me off is ‘actively looking for a change’. How can they forget that their seniors are on LinkedIn too?

  13. Kala Ravi says:

    Good round-up on Linked-In. Works best in professional circles, terrific networking! But nowadays, I feel twitter is working better, faster, more informal. That said, reccos from linkedin group carry more weight and clout.

  14. Ankita says:

    LinkedIn has always confused me. A part of the reason being that the kind of job that I would like to have does not match with my qualification and the job that I may get based on my qualification, that I do not wish to do. Confusing, isn’t it? Anyway, a well-written post. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Okay, I have to be honest. LinkinIn is the one social site which i have totally neglected over the years. I have neither updated my account nor responded much to people whose messages come via it.
    I guess I need to give it its due too.
    Roshan Radhakrishnan recently posted…There is no Rhinoceros running behind you #1000SpeakMy Profile

  16. Rajlakshmi says:

    I use linkedin solely for job applications and it has been a great help in finding the right opportunities and connecting to agents. Frankly, I don’t share much on it. Just like to keep everything nice, clean and to the point.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Sunrise huesMy Profile

  17. Shilpa Gupte says:

    That is a very informative (and useful) post, Parul! Especially for people like me!

  18. Suzy says:

    Very well said. Keep your linkedin interactions professional and your profile regularly updated.
    Suzy recently posted…Fitting inMy Profile

  19. BellyBytes says:

    I actually am not interested in a job but I was told to connect with Linked In only because some of my friends refuse to be on Facebook and only access my blog via LinkedIn.
    Thanks for sharing this information on LinkedIn

  20. Rekha says:

    Well laid out, Parul. Some profiles do make me wonder if they have mistaken LinkedIn for Shaadi.Com or Tinder. 😉
    Rekha recently posted…The Magic ShowMy Profile

  21. You know it’s my pet peeve when people find to distinct and put all kind of crap on linkedin. It reflects on their professional culture. High time to focus on career stuffs.

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