LinkedIn is a business network. It is not Facebook, nor is it kindergarten. But there are a growing number of people on LinkedIn who seem to want to ban people from doing business on LinkedIn, and just have nice, non-business discussions. Well, here are a few etiquette tips people should know when dealing with LinkedIn: 1. LinkedIn is a business site, NOT a personal one. This is why we don’t have pictures of people drunk, in bathing suits, or hanging with friends, but pictures of people in suits and ties and the like. We do business on this site. If you don’t want to do business, go to Facebook or some other site. Those of us who are serious are here to do business. 2. You do not have the right to not be offended by what you don’t want to see in your Inbox. If you don’t want to get notifications from your groups, turn off that option. Go to your group. Go to the second tier bounce bar. Select “More.” Select “Settings.” Turn off group notifications. It is that simple. Then when you want to look at the group, go there. See? No more pesky e-mail clogging up your Inboxes. 3. Just because you don’t want it doesn’t mean it’s SPAM. Many people enjoy seeing posts about employment or events. Those looking for jobs especially enjoy seeing posts about employment and networking events. Just because you don’t want to see it doesn’t make it SPAM. If you’re interested in a discussion or article, read it. If not, click past it. You don’t have the right to deny someone who might be unemployed help through an article about employment, or event unless you’re the group owner. 4. Unless you’re the group owner, don’t move a discussion. It is both unethical and immoral to do so. Don’t. Let people decide for themselves if something is useful or not. 5. People are going to utilize you if you’re connected to them. Sending out an update to your 1st degree network is not SPAM, nor is it a “mass e-mail list.” If you don’t want to know about the people you’re connected with, don’t connect with them. If you’re going to be connected to someone, you’ve gotta help them. 6. Your opinion is not the only one. All of us can be wrong. Believing differently doesn’t make one wrong nor a demon. 7. If you’re nasty, expect nasty responses. Although I usually reply to nastiness pretty mildly, many people don’t and you aren’t in your rights to expect them to. 8. Don’t deliberately anger someone well-known and well-connected unless you’re willing to take the consequences. If you are stupid enough to torque off someone who has loads of connections in your city and is very well-respected, you probably deserve the closing of doors that will happen to you. Just a few words from someone well-connected can ruin your career before it gets started. A word to the wise. LinkedIn is the real world. It isn’t Facebook. It isn’t Twitter. It is a live ammo game, and the game is business. If you aren't ready to follow proper LinkedIn etiquette, run home to mommy before you get hurt. If you want to play, put on your big boy or girl pants and play by the rules. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

This post looks at the importance of manners in today's business world, as well as some of the rudeness that exists in today’s business world and among today’s business people.

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Ah, youth! I remember my own youth, back before the invention of electricity. As fun as youth is, however, there are some things the old bulls have to teach when it comes to looking for a job. Here are a few tips for young professionals:

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Whether you’re just beginning your career or are in the middle of a career transition, taking the time to think about things that matter to you in life can save you years, even decades, of heartache. Here are some things to consider:

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The best working environments are those that are multi-generational. Here are a few reasons why:

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As an Executive Coach with over 30 years of experience, I’m continually asked, “Why isn’t my networking working?” Here are a few things for networkers to check up on.

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LinkedIn is the premier business networking site for job seekers at all levels and all ages There are some things newbies need to know about LinkedIn, though, before it will be valuable as a job search tool.

Things To Immediately Do On LinkedIn

In fact, whatever you’re using LinkedIn for, you should follow these 10 tips. 1. Put up a photo. What do you think on LinkedIn if you see someone without a photo? Well, I think they have something to hide, or they just aren’t a very experienced LinkedIn user. Either way, there is nothing good about not having a photo. Women often get weird about this, citing stalkers, etc. But, realistically, no one has ever been stalked through LinkedIn. My wife, in fact, has her photo, e-mail address and company phone number on her profile (all good things to have), and has never had any problems at all. And, yes, she is much, much better looking than I am. 2. Join about 45 groups. You’re allowed up to 50 groups on LinkedIn. Join almost that many. By joining 45, you still have “room” for another interesting group. Groups are how you get things done on LinkedIn. I’m always amazed when someone just has one or two groups, or, even worse, no groups. By joining groups people can get to know you and your business. By the way, please feel free to join my groups, “Getting Employed,” for job seekers anywhere at any level, and “Spirituality in Business” for those who value a business model that incorporates spirituality. Be aware I require photos on the profiles to join my groups. 3. Post discussions on groups. What’s the use of belonging to groups if you’re not out there as an influencer? None, really. Don’t be a vapid bystander. Participate! Post discussions on your groups on a regular basis. But be careful. Make the discussion to be something of actual interest to the group. Posting a link to your website to sell something or, even worse, a sleazy video like one person did in a discussion I following, will just make people avoid you like the plague. Post articles (that aren’t self serving), announcements, real events (not promoting or selling your product or service), requests for real advice, and discussions about a topic relevant to the group. Again, no selling! 4. Participate in threads. If you’re just a poster and not a participant, it will become clear you are just in it to promote yourself, rather than be a fully participating member of the LinkedIn community. Participate in threads with useful remarks. Again, no selling! And no “trolling,” either! If you must make political comments, be polite. Don’t attack people. I’m not saying to weasel your words. I am saying to be civil. If you participate in threads, follow the same rules as above. Be useful, not self-promoting. 5. Let it be known you are an open networker. There are two philosophies on LinkedIn. One is more effective than the other. The first, and, in my opinion, completely lame philosophy is you only connect with people you know well. That is LinkedIn’s official philosophy, although they really speak with a forked tongue on this one. This will keep your connections pretty low, and will not build your network. The other philosophy — the one to which I subscribe — is to accept all or almost all connection requests, at least from individuals. I don’t really like connecting with companies, and I am cautious about connecting with someone without a photo (because it could be a fake profile). The second philosophy will build your network much more rapidly. Here’s the deal. You may have no interest in networking with the individual who invites you. But you might have an interest in someone in his or her network. Connecting gives you access to that network. The more connections, the more likely it is that someone you want to meet will be “in network.” This makes your life on LinkedIn much easier. I see LinkedIn as a very large networking party. Now, at a networking party you don’t just go up to people you know and talk to them. Or, if you do, you’re a lousy networker. So why should I only talk to people I already know. LinkedIn has helped me meet some great new friends, business associates, and networking partners. I’ve gotten clients through LinkedIn. I’ve contacted hiring authorities for my clients through LinkedIn. And I’ve gotten an opportunity to meet very interesting and dynamic people through LinkedIn. All of this is because I’ve ignored the bovine effluvium that says I should only connect with people I know well! Connect and be an open networker. 6. Get recommendations... lots of them. Recommendations are essential to you. Seek them proactively and seek them passively. Proactive recommendation seeking involves reaching out and asking someone to recommend you. Passive recommendation seeking involves recommending someone, at which point LinkedIn asks them to recommend you back. The latter is actually a bit more effective. 7. Accept everyone, but invite strategically. What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to build your business in a particular city? Then invite people from that city for the most part. Are you trying to go international? Make sure you invite people who can help you internationally. Don’t just invite everyone who pops up on “people you may know.” Invite to build your network the way you want to build it. 8. Diversify your contacts. I noticed a while back my contact list was looking pretty homogeneous. Almost everyone in there was white, 50-ish, and male. So, in my inviting, I have made it a goal to invite women, people of color and younger people. Part of the problem is, of course, that LinkedIn itself is predominately middle aged, white and male. But there are plenty of others if you look. And you should look. And, of course, feel free to invite me. I accept all invitations from individuals (not companies or fake profiles). 9. Use your network. While I really don’t like my network selling their products or services to me, I am fine with announcements or questions. I make it a point to answer every question I get through LinkedIn (or from my readers of my columns). If you have a question that needs asking — ask the network. If you have something stupendous — share it with your network. You will get to be known this way and people will naturally come to you for many different needs. 10. Update regularly. If you go to your home screen, you can see a place to update your network. Use it frequently. It is like a tweet, but it goes to LinkedIn. You can also tweet your update if you wish. Also update your profile frequently. Your job and needs are changing. Don’t keep the same stuff in your profile. Update all of the time. Photo credit: Shutterstock
Youth unemployment is at approximately 25%. This is even higher for recent grads in the “soft” subjects, such as psychology, social work, etc. So why am I hearing from my friends and business colleagues they are having a hard time hiring, especially for entry-level positions? I think there are, from my research and observations, a few answers. 1. Unrealistic salary expectations. Many who are graduating college believe they should be paid $50K or higher to start… with no or little experience. This is just not realistic. Dues must be paid, and one of those dues is to earn a lower salary for a while to get experience and actually be worth being paid at all. 2. The B.S. from colleges and training schools. Colleges, universities and training schools are over-inflating the worth of their training so they can charge their obscene and exorbitant tuition. They’re telling these younger workers that they’re completely trained and ready to hit the road running. In fact, most of what kids learn in school is completely useless. Don’t get me wrong, an education is a vital and valuable experience. But schools have got to stop peddling the B.S. that kids are ready to be CEOs upon graduation. Again, dues need to be paid in terms of real world experience. 3. Unrealistic duty expectations. The entire job isn’t going to be fun, fun, fun. Every job, including mine (sometimes especially mine) involves some “cleaning the toilets.” No job is going to be non-stop valuable and non-stop fun. You get to do the “grunt work,” too. If you’re not willing to start pretty close to the bottom of the career ladder, expect to be unemployed for a long period of time. 4. Universities again. More of the B.S. coming out of academia is, if you can’t get a job with a Baccalaureate degree, go get more education. This is why there are so many people with advanced degrees that are still unemployed. So the schools tell them they need certificates, or a PhD, or some other “credential” that universities or other schools can give them. Employers want experience. By getting more and more advanced degrees, without starting at the bottom and getting experience, you’re just pricing yourself further out of the market. I strongly suggest a few years of work before going on for more degrees or certifications unless such are required for your field. Another point. Most of the very best universities, such as Harvard, look for someone who is well-rounded and can bring something to the table, rather than a snot-nosed kid who has gone from high school to college, and college to grad school. 5. Evil parents. Parents — your kids are never going to stand on their own two feet if you keep carrying them around. Insist your kids work, even if you have to help them for a while. Tell them to put up with the everyday give and take of a work environment, including long hours, office politics, and jerk bosses, rather than telling them they’re too good to have to experience this, even though you do every day. Make them pay a bit of rent if they’re living at home. No one should ride for free, especially your children. You have two jobs. When they were younger, you had the job of giving them a nest. Now it is your job to give them wings! I hear too many kids (and I’m even talking “kids” up to their 30’s) who say they don’t really have to work because their parents will either pay for them to live, or that they can live at home. This is really, truly dysfunctional! 6. Social lives. No one has told most youth workers their recreational and social lives must, especially in a difficult economy, take a back seat to actually earning a living. 7. Over-scheduling. We would love to hire someone to be trained as a career coach. However, we are finding that many of the younger people we’ve interviewed have such packed lives that they don’t have time for the job and the training that must take place. One person was more interested in her yoga and pole-dancing classes than in being trained for an exciting (and potentially lucrative) career. I could give many other examples, as well. I blame my generation for signing these kids up when they were younger for soccer, piano, ballet, softball, dance classes, and everything else under the sun that kept them busy 24/7. But constant busy-ness does not allow for the learning and mentoring a career takes. 8. Entitlement attitude. I see many younger workers feel entitled to be treated “special,” and to be appreciated for just doing their job. This may have happened at Ben Franklin Elementary, and even through high school and college, but the work world requires some actual accomplishments. I welcome your comments, both in the comments section below, or to me, personally, at jheckers@heckersdev.com. John Heckers has over 30 years of successfully helping people with their careers. He has consulted to executives from Fortune 500 companies, 5 person companies, and everything in-between. Photo credit: Shutterstock