While Facebook is a social network primarily centered around connecting with friends and family to share your personal social life, LinkedIn is considered THE standard for business professionals. What this means is that it’s not about posting personal rants, sharing photos of you on vacation or even photos of your pets. Instead, it is about connecting with employers, fellow employees, and friends with the professional purpose of finding jobs, people or even business opportunities.
Below are 5 things to avoid doing on LinkedIn that can not only help you avoid an embarrassing situation, but also help you make better connections with other business professionals.
- Posting a photo other than a professional looking photo for your profile
- Example: your business logo, pets, on a beach vacation
- Why to avoid: Your profile is an extension of you and since LinkedIn is about business contacts, why make other business professionals guess. Not only are they busy, but it looks more professional when you have your real photo on your profile rather than one of something else. For those of you who want to make your business logo your profile photo, consider setting up a separate LinkedIn company page instead to promote this.
- Example: John Smith – www.website.com
- Why to avoid: Connecting on LinkedIn is not about selling your business, but rather yourself. Create a profile that tells your story. By having a professional photo and a profile that is 100% complete, it is more inviting and leads others to want to read your profile, where they can then learn about you, what you do, your website, etc which you have in your profile.
- Example: being connected with your boss and posting the following; “Looking to quit my job and start my own business. I cannot stand it!”
- Why to avoid: This one’s pretty obvious – even if you haven’t quit your job yet, you are giving your boss (who can see your profile), even more reason to let you go because what you are posting can be detrimental to your current employer. Not only will this leave you embarrassed, but you might not have even had the chance to get your other business going yet.
- Example: I want to connect with you on LinkedIn.
- Why to avoid: Great – you want to connect with me…along with the other 150 million people! State your purpose when you send out an invitation. One thing I like to recommend is to take the time to read over someone’s profile. Check out their work, their website, their videos and be sure to mention this in your invitation. By doing so, it shows you took the time to research them and that you weren’t just sending out an invitation for the sole purpose of getting your number of connections up, but that you want to make a true connection with that person.
- Example: Sending out 50 invitations to people you don’t know.
- Why to avoid: True, LinkedIn is a tool for connecting with other business professionals – a digital rolodex. One thing to keep in mind though is that you want to make lasting connections. Just because you have sent our 30 invitations to a mix of people you know or completely don’t know, it doesn’t necessarily make you a better person to connect with. Focus on people you already know, who you could benefit from having a connection with (the same for them). Then gradually build up your connections to where you have quality connections. Numbers may look great on a computer screen; however, when you get down to it, are those connections going to be someone you can call on down the road? Probably not…
So there you have it, 5 things to avoid doing on LinkedIn that can save you from making a very big professional mistake. Did I leave any off (no really)? What else do you think you should leave off LinkedIn? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.