Would you prefer to shoot yourself first before being shot at? You might be asking yourself, “What difference does it make? After all I would be dead in the end anyway!”. If you agree with this, then it means you might be someone who probably shies away from challenges and is satisfied with the minimum. What am I driving at? What if after shooting yourself, your shooter realised he had no bullets left or by some form of divine intervention someone comes to your rescue? You would have been saved but by then it would be too late.
That is what I have observed on LinkedIn over the period, people shooting themselves in the foot before any opportunity even gets the chance to be presented at their doorstep. I get a couple of messages in my inbox from people either trying to sell a service or product or seeking employment. Some mails are sent in a rush with grammatical errors and its gets me thinking, “why would this person be killing any prospects they might have?”. First impressions count a lot! Take note of this. There are times when I reply with feedback, some ignore it and take offence, others are also appreciative.
I was inspired to put this short piece together after reading a post by Nadia on LinkedIn.
Hi Guys just a tip – if you want someone to notice you and/or if you want to make an impression don’t inbox them and say ‘hey look at my profile’ it’s unbecoming! Put your best foot forward and let me see you! Too many inbox messages that I should look at people’s profiles…. Fix up, look sharp and let’s go!
I commented on her post with the below and got a number of likes
Apparently it seems some people are genuinely not aware of the courtesies on LinkedIn and I hope this post would be helpful to you especially the recent graduates and other job seekers who want to get noticed.
1. Please! LinkedIn is not Facebook
If you want a social interaction and nothing professional, kindly deactivate your LinkedIn account and migrate full-time to Facebook. I have observed that people post forwarded messages and other junk on LinkedIn without even taking some time to check on the authenticity. It might seem nice to alert your professional contacts of some social scams etc but note that, there are other platforms for social communication.
NB: This excludes posts by persons whose job involves social media interaction, blogging among others.
So before you post anything, ask yourself this question, is this suitable for LinkedIn? How would my professional network react to this?
2. LinkedIn is not a chat service!
“Hello dear”, “Hi”, “Whats up?”, “What do you do?” Please and please again, starting your conversation with this and expecting a reply before proceeding won’t take you far. Personally if you approach me this way after I accept you as a connection, I would take you off my network. It means you are idle or don’t know what you are about. If you want to chat there are loads of options available and LinkedIn is not one of those options.
So what do you do? My advice is to introduce yourself and go straight to the point. No dancing around when you can just hit the nail on the head.
3. If you can’t sell yourself, don’t expect others to easily buy into you
Currently people are busy and might have limited time, instead of going with the following:
Hello I just completed xxxxxxx with first class honours and am in search of a job. Can you assist?
In the first place, I am not a recruiter, just a finance person. My response usually depends on my mood. If I am in a good mood, then I would say,
“I am sorry xxxxx we don’t have any vacancies where I work or I will send your CV to our HR department in case of any future vacancies”
If not, then forget it! You won’t get any response from me. So imagine a recruiter who receives thousands of mails, what makes you different from the others? What makes you standout such that he/she would want to read your message and even take the next step of sending a reply or getting in touch with you?
In selling yourself, your contents and subject is very important. The subject and first statement of your message draws the reader to want to go further.
4. Perform detailed research before sending any message
A recruiter would be interested in you if you have done your homework. Perform research to know more about the company and what you can bring on board should they decide to hire you.
Once it’s easy to add you to my professional network, it is equally easy to take you off once I notice that your purpose for connecting with me is unprofessional.
I once received a message, very detailed, research and introduction on point! BUT the individual had developed a generic email that he was circulating. The company I work with didn’t even provide those services he had boldly stated in the email. Would a recruiter take you seriously if even prior to hiring you, you are already committing blunders.
My advice is to take your time and send specific and relevant emails.
5. Use a professional looking picture for your profile
If I get a request, I look at your profile and your display picture before taking a decision to either accept or ignore your request. As I said, first impressions count a lot. In as much as it is attracting, save your beautiful poses with pouted lips for instagram and the likes unless you are a model but even with models I would expect a professional looking profile picture.
If you need any guidance on tips to assist you in selecting the right picture you should check out, 7 Tips to Make Sure Your LinkedIn Picture Is Helping, Not Hurting, Your Prospects
“If you are on social media, and you are not learning, not laughing, not being inspired or not networking, then you are using it wrongly.”
― Germany Kent