LinkedIn emailed me that I'm in its "Top 1 Percent" of viewed profiles. Only two million of us are, so I'll share my pearls of LinkedIn Networking wisdom. On LinkedIn you should:
1. Use a picture and real name.
2. List a profession, even if you're jobless. Examples: "Financial Services Professional," "Global Brand Marketer" or "Fortune 100 Accountant." Your headline doesn't need to say unemployed. If you don't list your company's name, the assumption is you're seeking new opportunities.
3. When you reach out to someone, know what they and their company do. Don't assume you already know. I often get emails from people about Latin American marketing because I work at Telemundo, whose primary business is TV for U.S. Hispanics. Not the same thing. It's not cheating on LinkedIn to use other sites like Google to research a company before emailing new contacts.
4. If you want a contact to forward your info, write an email that is easy to forward and helps you. An email with typos won't cut it. Neither will one that says you'd like a job in three different industries like wealth management, public relations or sales. Nor does one about your interest in jobs at three competitors.
5. Don't say that you'd like any job in the field. Know your skills and explain how they match a particular job or opening. The job opening for a jack-of-all-trades is rare.
6. Do not send job requests in an email with multiple cc's at various companies. Court your contacts. Make them feel special. No one wants to see that you want any old job. We'd like to feel that you want a job from us or with our companies.
7. Write in a language the contact speaks. Do not assume they speak languages they do not list in "skills." They will not use Google to translate your message. They will delete it.
8. NO ALL CAPS PLEASE. Nobody likes a computer yelling at them. This holds true for getting an interview, job, date or even booking a restaurant reservation online. No all caps, ever.
9. Don't ask for recommendations from people you haven't worked with closely. LinkedIn recently added an "endorsements" section with fast, user-friendly multiple choices, but it's still presumptuous to request endorsements without significant job experience with a potential endorser.
10. Unless you worked with someone before, do not send surveys asking for feedback on your job performance. They won't provide useful commentary on your strengths but could highlight weak common sense, focus group skills and understanding of target marketing.
11. Please don't use LinkedIn to try to sell me an apartment, a car, insurance or subscribe to your mailing list. That may be your job, but it's not mine and not why I signed up for this service. To me it is spam. I am not going to buy from you because of your LinkedIn spam.
12. I'm festive and enjoy holidays. Ask anyone who came to my six birthday celebrations last year. But I don't need Valentine's cards or Chinese New Year cards from people I've only met through LinkedIn. If you want to send me non-virtual (read: real) flowers or Chinese lanterns, I'll happily accept. But life is about karma and giving without expectations, so don't expect much in return.
13. Don't send strangers letters that say:
Letter 1: "Ms. Popper its John I hope you had a great new year and I would like to if a 3.17 GPA as an economics major is decent for my first semester at college. Thank You for your time."
Letter 2: "Hi, Mrs. Popper its John Jones and I would like to know if you need to have a minor in Broadcast Media to work at NBC with a major in Economics? Thank You for your time."
These are real letters with changed names. I was generous/silly/stupid enough to answer the first one politely. Then John sent Letter 2. Instead of asking strangers ungrammatical questions, spend your time proofreading your letters, studying to get better grades, or applying for an internship or job.
Bonus Tip: 14. When I get an email request to "forward an intro" to someone in my network, a recruiter looking for recommendations for a specific role, or a conference requesting speaker recommendations, I'll happily respond. That's what LinkedIn is for. And to hobnob with the top 1 percent of viewed profiles, all two million of us.