So you’re too old, sophisticated, or uncool to be on Facebook or MySpace. So where’s an adult to go to socially network? The latest hit site is Linked In – a social networking site solely for professionals. So far over 15 million people have joined Linked In. and it’s a free way to find potential clients, a new job, find a service provider – like an accountant, lawyer or graphic designer – or just to keep in contact with people you meet through your job.
Just like with MySpace or FaceBook, you create your own profile – but instead of pictures from the latest frat party and blogs about your favorite band – on Linked In you talk about where you work, your education, and any professional services you provide or can recommend. Linked In has also created some awkwardness – because it blurs the line between work and friendship. So here’s a lesson in Linked In etiquette courtesy of Newsweek magazine:
- Let’s say your boss invites you to join their network – but you hate your boss. What should you do? Accept his invitation. It’s a sign of respect and it makes you look professional. So put aside your personal feelings and accept.
- What if the office intern asks you to be one of their connections on Linked In – does it make you look bad to be chummy with the lowest person on the workplace totem pole? Should you give the intern access to all your hard-earned contacts? Yes. Accept the invitation to be connected to the office intern. You never know, they could become the CEO someday.
- Linked In is also a way to get job references. So what if one of your work friends asks for a reference, but you think they’re a lousy worker? Say no, but make it a rule that you won’t be a reference for anybody. That way your friend won’t take it personally. That’s just your blanket policy.
- What if someone asks you to join their Linked In job network, but you’re barely acquaintances? The experts say go ahead and accept. You never know what opportunities could be opened up to you.