For as long as LinkedIn has been around, it seems that many professionals are still a little unsure of what it is, how it should be used, or how they should behave on the site. LinkedIn is essentially a networking site for business professionals. It’s an extremely valuable tool for connecting with like-minded professionals, expanding your network, and landing jobs. If you are trying to build your reputation as a professional within your community, LinkedIn is a great place to start–if you’re using it right.
Here are a few things you should NOT be doing on LinkedIn if you want to make the most of this handy networking tool.
Don’t treat it like Facebook
LinkedIn isn’t Facebook. This means:
- Don’t post pics of you and your friends
- Don’t go on political rants
- Don’t post a profile pic holding a glass of beer or doing shots (unless you happen to be the CEO of a beer or liquor company)
- Don’t use a profile pic of you and your significant other or kids
Do use a professional headshot if you have one. You should treat your LinkedIn profile like your resume. If there’s anything you wouldn’t hand to a future employer, don’t put it on LinkedIn.
Don’t Automatically Use LinkedIn Messenger
Messaging someone on LinkedIn should never be your first point of contact, especially if the subject is time sensitive. I can’t count the number of times I’ve sent someone a message and got a response a week or so later that said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I never use this!” In fact, I’ve also done the same thing to other people. If you need to contact someone, check their profile for an email or contact information first. If they offer their email, they won’t be put off if you email them. Just be sure to mention you found it on LinkedIn. If there is no other contact listed, then try sending a message through LinkedIn.
(Don’t – Add their email to your newsletter subscriber list!)
Don’t Get Greedy
When you connect with someone, don’t use that opportunity to immediately ask for a favor, a connection, a job opportunity, a recommendation, etc. Thank them for connecting. Remind them where you met, and be friendly, not pushy. You never want to make a new connection feel like they are just a stepping stone to another person or opportunity. You also don’t want to push a sale as soon as you connect with someone. Again, LinkedIn is a networking tool–act like you would at a networking event.
This should be a norm on Facebook too, but we all know it isn’t. On LinkedIn, this is a major faux-paus. Take advantage of the updates section to share something new in your industry, career moves you are excited about or a great article you found–not what you had for dinner or what you’re up to tonight. It’s not the place to talk about your personal life or beliefs, and the comments section isn’t for starting heated debates. If you wouldn’t do it in a professional setting, don’t do it on LinkedIn.
Don’t Neglect Your Profile
Utilize the summary section to highlight what you do, your experience and your objectives. Keep your work history and your skills current, especially in a world where technology and required skills are constantly changing. If you just got certified in the latest Google Ads software, brag about it. Add it to your profile. Don’t leave sections blank and don’t forget to update it when you make a job switch.
But, don’t feel the need to write a book in the summary section. Be concise, clear and get to the point. Contacts don’t need your life story, they need just enough information to see that you are a professional and knowledgeable in your field.
Still confused or worried you’re posting the wrong stuff? Don’t worry, you don’t have to reach out to us on LinkedIn. Just reach out using our website or shoot us an email at email@example.com, and we will get you on the right track to maximize this social tool.