Think Before You Link

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You wouldn’t walk into a networking event with a bag on your head or hand out business cards that say, “Call to talk more about me.” Yet too many of us are generic or self-centered in our approach on LinkedIn.

Influential communicators work to create a complete communications experience for their listeners. Whether you’re connecting in-person or online, it’s important to deliver a message that’s relevant to your audience and in a way that builds trust and likability—and LinkedIn is no exception.

Start with a Profile Picture that Connects

Your profile is 14x more likely to be viewed if it has a photo, according to LinkedIn. Opt for a photo where you’re making eye contact and smiling authentically, just as if you were meeting someone at a networking event. Wear attire appropriate for the job you do. Skip party pics, group shots and obvious crops.

Personalize LinkedIn Invitations

Yes, it’s temping to take advantage of the one-click, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn,” invitation option. But it’s also generic and lazy, making you come across that way, too. Keep invitations short and concrete. For example, reference the event where you met or include a detail about the conversation you had, like your shared passion for travel. Better yet: Volunteer to help them with introductions or industry intel.

Use Keywords, Not Jargon

Steer clear of jargon and business buzzwords to come across as accessible and authentic. Instead, use descriptive, human-friendly keywords that help people understand what you do. No matter what, beef up your headline beyond your current job title. Add concrete details that call out your specialty areas and stick to recognized industry terms.

LinkedIn is a lot like the gym. Membership alone won’t get you six-pack abs.  Apply these tips to be more thoughtful and intentional. Do it and you will create deeper, more authentic connections online and off.

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