By: Sydney Kaplan
LinkedIn is kind of a strange, social media grey area. Some compare it to Facebook, given that you’re always receiving “friend requests” and scrolling past long statuses. However, there’s a totally different etiquette that’s reserved for LinkedIn and LinkedIn only.
First, let’s back up: what is LinkedIn? LinkedIn is a career-first social networking site that allows people to connect with other professionals in their field, or simply people whom they admire and are hoping to network with. So, you might consider LinkedIn to be Facebook’s ultra-professional best friend. Which makes it tricky to navigate: should I be as friendly on LinkedIn as I am on Facebook? Can I casually message people as I would on any other social media site, or will that come off as creepy?
We’re here to help! Here are the best ways to utilize LinkedIn to network and advance your career in a non-creepy, professional way.
CONNECT WITH OTHER ALUMNI FROM YOUR SCHOOL
Your university alumni network is likely one of the most expansive networks accessible to you. Don’t be afraid to “connect” with other alumni from your college, even if they graduated well before you. Working professionals understand that LinkedIn is a networking site; and unlike Facebook, it’s not considered “weird” to request to connect with people you don’t personally know. Plus, more often than not, other alumni will be excited to see what you’re up to once they see you two have something major in common – especially when it relates to their carefree campus days!
SEND A MESSAGE ASKING TO GET COFFEE
The next step is to reach out via LinkedIn messaging and actually meet up in-person. This is completely un-creepy and non-invasive, as long as you craft a professional message that actually shows that you have an interest in whoever you are messaging. No one wants to meet up if they feel like you are only interested in using this person’s position to benefit yourself. Another good tip is to offer to pay for the meetup.
A great LinkedIn message will read something like:
Hi! Nice to e-meet you. I see that we both attended the University of Vermont and are both living in NYC now. I’d love to take you out to coffee or brunch and hear more about your experiences – I so admire your career and want to learn about how you got to where you are today! Let me know if you have any availability and if you have any spots around the city you’ve been wanting to try. Looking forward to connecting!
REPOST AND COMMENT ON OTHERS’ POSTS AND ARTICLES
The best way to get in front of recruiters and companies that are hiring is to generally be active on the site: comment on others’ posts/statuses, comment on articles you find interesting, and reshare articles and posts that resonate with you. Make sure that you are adding some kind of value when commenting on LinkedIn posts/articles, too. Don’t just comment “Nice article!”; instead, comment on why you liked the article. “Nice article, I felt super inspired after reading about how this entrepreneur overcame XX struggles” is a better comment as it reveals something about what motivates you and shows that you have a sincere interest in continuing to grow in your career.
POST YOUR OWN WORK AND THOUGHTS
Not only should you be resharing and commenting on others’ posts, but you should also be making your own! Original content isn’t only for Instagram – LinkedIn is another great place to showcase your personal brand. Create a status about the 5 most valuable lessons you learned at your last job, share a blog post you wrote, post your career goals for 2020, or share a Making it in Manhattan article that inspired you. Posting on your own profile will again show others that you’re a person who cares about learning and growing, instead of merely coasting through a 9-to-5.
Now get to networking – good luck!
This post originally appeared on MakingManhattan.com.
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The founder of Making Manhattan, Caroline Vazzana, is a fashion writer, editor, and stylist living and working in her hometown of New York. She’s worked for Anna Sui, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and InStyle. She has collaborated with designers including Betsey Johnson and Diane Von Furstenberg, and has styled celebrities for various red carpets like the MTV Video Music Awards and Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. Caroline is currently the Founder & Creative Director of MakingManhattan.com where she hopes to shed light on the industry to the future fashion generation. Make sure to follow her everywhere @cvazzana for an inside look into her day to day in NYC.
Picture Credit: Lorensworld.com