Tips and Tricks: LinkedIn Etiquette

Without a doubt, LinkedIn has revolutionized the way professional network today. While etiquette in person

Even though it is a social networking platform, there are many of us who are still unsure about the proper etiquette for this site.

Over the past few months, I have cultivated a variety of tips and tricks for using LinkedIn. The following tips should be kept in mind at all times:

  • Always be professional: the impression you make on LinkedIn can have a huge impact on your career.
  • Always be honest: never stretch the truth because people will know
  • Do your due diligence before reaching out to a contact: people are busy and will not want to help you if it requires too much extra time and effort.


1. Which profile picture should I choose?

Choose a professional looking head shot. No photos with a group of people as no one will know which one is you! Keep in mind that this photo does not need to be taken by a professional. However, you should at the very least be wearing a blazer or a business professional outfit. Make sure that your appearance is clean and neat as people can make judgments about your attention to detail and overall work ethic based on how put together you are. Make sure that there is good lighting so that people can see your face (this will be very important in just a second)!

Most importantly, choose a photo where you are genuinely smiling. Much like online dating, people are drawn towards individuals that seem approachable and friendly. All companies are looking for someone who is easy to work with and you will want to appear to be a good fit. If you want recruiters to approach you on LinkedIn, you definitely want a friendly picture! So smile! 🙂

2. How much should I write on my profile?

LinkedIn isn’t like a resume where you are restricted to a single page. You can take more space to provide detail about what it is that you do. Recruiters will appreciate this as they have a better understanding of whether or not you are a fit for the role or company.

Much like a newspaper, you will often lose interest as you go further down the page so keep the most important skills/experiences that you want to highlight at the top.

3. Why should I keep my contact list open to my connections?

LinkedIn is all about connecting people professionally. If you wanted to know more about a company and your friend knew a connection, I’m sure you’d want to know that information! Make sure that you offer the same courtesy to others.

On that train of thought, don’t be afraid to introduce connections with each other, especially if they have mutual needs. Helping people find each other will put you in a great position later when you need to get in contact with someone.

4. How do I make sure my employer doesn’t know that I am interviewing based on my LinkedIn profile?

As you may know, in many companies it is highly frowned upon to be looking for another job. So the worst thing to have happen is your manager or coworker noticing that you have updated your profile (which is usually an indicator that you are actively seeking a new role).

To minimize this risk, turn your privacy settings so that your network isn’t notified when you edit your profile. On the other hand, make sure that your profile is public so that recruiters can find you and see whether or not your skills and experiences are relevant to the role that they are trying to fill.


1. How often should you be using LinkedIn?

If you are actively seeking employment, you should be using it daily to stay up to date with the newest job postings and to network with professionals. If you are not actively looking for a new job, you should still log in weekly to maintain professional relationships and stay up to date with your contacts’ changes and career progressions. Do not wait until you need a job to get your profile updated. As soon as you are in a new role, spend time to update your contacts, get recommendations and endorsements, etc.

2. Who should you connect with on LinkedIn?

Unlike Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, having more contacts does not equate to being more popular. To be able to leverage your connections in the future, you need to spend time now developing relationships with these people. You may want to consider that the more people you have in your network, the more difficult it becomes to manage meaningful relationships.

Not everyone will recommend this but I highly suggest staying connected with individuals from a variety of industries and companies. Life changes quickly and you never know what direction you will end up in. Having a few individuals who you can talk to in different industries can help you in the future if you decide to move into a new role or if you are looking for specific information to further your goals.

Below are some ideas of where some of these connections can be found:

  • Classmates (ex. Elementary School, High School, University/College, etc.)
  • Teachers or professors
  • Coworkers (including managers and supervisors)
  • Recruiters from other companies
  • Professional Networks (i.e. those you meet from a seminar or professional designation)

3. Can I connect with a recruiter on LinkedIn?

Yes! Of course you can! While it can be intimidating for people to reach out to recruiters, it can actually be helpful for them. Instead of them looking for talented and qualified individuals, you are self-identifying yourself for the role. If there isn’t a specific role that you are looking for, you have at least put yourself on their radar for other future postings.

4. How do I connect with someone I don’t know well?

LinkedIn has a generic message that can be used for someone you know well. However, there are times when we need to reach out to someone we may not know or someone we know very casually. In these instances, it is best to send a message with your invite so that they don’t click “I don’t know this user” which can cause you to lose your LinkedIn account!

If you don’t know what to say, here’s an example of a message that you can send:

Writing a Message 2

5. How do I ask for an introduction from one of my contacts?

If you know that the person you are trying to reach is associated with one of your contacts, you can try to reach out to your connection to get an introduction so that you do not need to cold message them. Depending on the closeness of your relationship, you will need to figure out the best way to reach your contact (ex. email, phone call, LinkedIn message, in person meeting, etc.).

If you are going to email or send a LinkedIn message to your contact, below is an example of what you can write. You will also want to consider writing an introduction for yourself to make it easier for your connection.

Getting an Introduction

6. What should I do if I haven’t heard back from a contact that I messaged or a person I sent a connection invite to?

Follow up! This person may not be ignoring you; he/she may be on vacation, may not get alerted when messages are received, may have forgotten or may have a variety of other reasons why they are not responding.

If it is an urgent issue (ex. getting a referral for a job posting that is closing soon) then I would wait up to a week for a response. However, if there is no deadline to meet, then I would wait up to a month for a response.

Below is an example of a message that you can send to follow-up:

Following Up

7. How do I respond to someone I don’t know or I do not want to connect with?

If you can’t find any way that you are mutually acquainted (ex. no mutual education, contacts, companies, etc.), you can always reply and ask them to remind you how you know them.

If you don’t want to connect with an individual who has reached out, you can simply Archive the request or you can click “I do not know this user”.

8. How do I ask someone to write a recommendation for me?

It is best to contact a colleague, coworker, former manager, or former teacher soon after you have left your previous role/connection point so that you are still fresh on their mind. It is best to reach out to those who you have had a positive relationship with. Remember, you can always choose not to put up a recommendation that someone has given you (though that might be offensive given that the individual has spent the time to write you one).

Below is an example of an email that you can send. Depending on how close of a relationship you have, you can make your language more or less formal.



1. How often should I post links or status updates?

Every time you post a link, image or update, it is a reflection of you and the message that you want to share with your contacts. You do not want to overwhelm your contacts with links every hour as people will be unable to sift through the relevant and important information.

Instead, choose one or two links or status updates you want to share per day. Keep in mind that for status updates, you want to use them to highlight any achievements or major changes in your professional life such as a promotion, receiving an award or moving to a new company. Always keep your message positive! You never want to criticize or be negative on LinkedIn as this looks poorly on you.

2. What is the appropriate length of time to respond to a LinkedIn message?

If you think of LinkedIn messages as an email, you’ll remember that 1 – 2 days is an acceptable period to respond. Even if you are writing to tell them that you will respond another day, it will be appreciated. No one likes to be ignored.

3. What do I do about ‘stalking’ on LinkedIn?

Most people feel uncomfortable with the fact that other individuals can see that you have looked at their profile. Most of the time, people know that you are simply curious about their professional background. Unless you are looking at a coworker, in which case, that can get uncomfortable for the both of you. Also, don’t ever start a message with “I see you viewed my profile”. It is very creepy.

If you would like more anonymity, consider changing your settings so that people cannot see that it was you exactly that looked at their profile. All they will see is that an individual in x industry looked at their profile.

Don’t be afraid to look at a person’s profile because you don’t want them to see that you looked at their profile. It makes it a lot easier to build a rapport with an individual if you know something about them.

4. When sending messages to multiple recipients, remove the check-mark for “allow recipients to see each others names and email addresses”

It seems like you are sending out a mass, spam message when everyone can see who has received the same message. On LinkedIn, it’s all about making personal connections. Making a rookie mistake like this can look very poorly on your ability to be attentive to details while also alienating you from your connections.

I hope you learned a few tips and tricks about how to navigate on LinkedIn while maintaining your professionalism. If you have additional pointers, please add them!

Good luck!


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