Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Most people know how to be polite offline. They put napkins on their laps, hold doors open, and say “please” and “thank you.”Online, it’s a whole other story. People bombard strangers with friend requests, emails are ignored or misinterpreted, and communication gets sloppy.
In it, Robert Half came up with ways to minimize socially awkward interactions on professional sites like LinkedIn.
A LinkedIn profile should resemble a paper resume as closely as possible. Take time to fill in necessary details about your work history before reaching out to professional contacts.
You wouldn't reach out to an employer without having your resume polished, would you?
To complete a LinkedIn profile, you'll need written recommendations from coworkers. Don't be lazy about this; you shouldn't mass message contacts hoping to get one good referral.
If you want someone to write a personal message about you, take the time to send them one too.
Unlike Twitter where you can follow whomever you like, you shouldn't connect with people you've never met on professional networks.
The Robert Half manual says to value quality over quantity.
'Don't invite strangers to your network, and don't be offended when those you've never met or vaguely know ignore your requests,' it says. 'Your network is only as strong as its weakest connection.'
When you reach out to a new contact on LinkedIn, simply selecting how you know the person (friend, classmate, etc) isn't always enough.
Write a personal message to let the receiver know who you are and why you want to connect. It may remind them where they know you from, and they'll be more likely to accept the invitation.
A relationship is between two people.
If you try to strike one up with a new contact, make sure they see how you can benefit them too.
While you shouldn't reach out blindly to extended contacts on a regular basis, there are certain situations when contacting a 2nd or 3rd connection is appropriate.
If you're applying for a job, it is smart to do a LinkedIn search. See who you know at the company and reach out, whether it's a first connection or a friend of a friend.
LinkedIn has thousands of groups users can join, much like Facebook Pages.
Joining these groups shows other users your interests and can lead you to other like-minded professionals. Alumni association groups are a good place to start; you'll have an instant connection with all of the members.
If you want a current connection to introduce you to someone, be respectful. Say 'please' and 'thank you.'
Tell them (politely) why you'd like to be introduced and remember that you're asking a friend to go out on a limb for you. Don't embarrass them.
Remember, who you recommend and introduce professionally could hinder your reputation.
Before you agree to connect two people, consider each person's personality and work history. Then decide if matching them up makes sense.
If you introduce two people and one of them becomes a nuisance or doesn't follow through, that's all on you.
What's the point of having a connection if you don't use it from time to time?
Robert Half's manual recommends a few ways to keep in touch without being annoying.
Share relevant news articles that bring people value, listen to contacts when they pipe up, and establish yourself as the go-to person in groups you join.
It also recommends adding one new person per week to your network -- a growing contact list is much better than a stagnant one, especially in the eyes of potential contacts.
If you plan to connect with someone who has reached out to you (and even if you don't), respond shortly after you receive the message. Ignoring people, online or off, is rude.
Every message or connection request should be responded to within 24 hours.
It's easy to chat casually on social networks.
On LinkedIn, it's important to keep the conversation professional. People will remember what you say/type for a long time, especially online where everything can be recorded.
Robert Half recommends taking five minutes per day to offer helpful suggestions to others, send useful articles, or share insights and introductions others may need to develop closer relationships.
Mobile apps or connecting LinkedIn and Twitter accounts are ways to contribute value quickly and make profile updates on the go.
NOW WATCH: Ideas videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.