Things NOT to do on LinkedIn

LinkedIn has evolved to become one the most important and most established resources for professional networking available. Used by more than 300 million people on an international level, whether you’re there to network for job opportunities, sales prospects, or just overall experience, it’s true that LinkedIn can improve your efforts. It’s important to acknowledge a few considerations about LinkedIn before you get too deep in your approach. What shouldn’t you do on LinkedIn? The best way to manage LinkedIn is to remember three words – keep it professional. Yes, it really is that simple. Here are some of the things you shouldn’t be doing on LinkedIn.

1.) Selecting a bad profile picture.
A great photo is an important way to get your LinkedIn profile noticed. But skip the one that includes your husband, your kids, your friends, or the family pet. Also, make sure the photo is clear, professional, and relatively recent. Unless you’re getting hired for a modeling gig, people are just looking for energy, which you can communicate through great posture, open eyes and a smile.

2.) Confuse It with Facebook
LinkedIn connections, messages, and posts should be reserved for building your professional network, joining groups of people who share your interests, expanding your career skills and knowledge, and learning about new work opportunities. Don’t use it for a casual social interaction, posting office party selfies, or anything else that might turn a potential employer off. Don’t include your kid, your cat, your dog, your significant other, your latest vacation or the kitchen sink in your LinkedIn profile picture. LinkedIn is about the professional you, not the personal you and it’s not hard to keep it that way. . In a similar vein, be careful what you share. LinkedIn isn’t Facebook. Share content, advice and opinions that boost your professional credentials. It’s all about relevancy. Save the other non-work related stuff for Facebook.

3.) Don’t send out the LinkedIn text
Never send out the text that LinkedIn automatically gives you, whether it be for an invitation to connect or a request for a Recommendation, people know this text and will not respond sincerely to you. Instead if it is an invitation to connect write about where you met each other, or how you help to be useful. If you are asking for a recommendation then I would advise you ask them for it in person and then use the invitation on LinkedIn as a guidance tool. Mention the work that you want to be recommended for and mention the topics you would like to be recommended for. A personal touch goes a long way. Just like in real life, people on LinkedIn crave personal acknowledgement, and if you give it to them, you’ll wind up in their good graces. You’ll want to start each possible connection on a note of personal interaction; when you request to connect with a new person, write them a message about why that connection is important to you, and include personal details so the other person knows you’re being sincere. Sending the default “Hi, I’d like to connect” message will make you seem distant and unapproachable. Then, follow up with your connections on a regular basis. If you see it’s someone’s birthday, someone’s work anniversary, or someone’s new job or promotion, send them a congratulatory letter. Take every opportunity you can to build your relationship with tiny personal touches. Over time, your connection will grow much stronger.

4.) Ask people you don’t know for recommendations or referrals.
Here’s how to get recommendations on LinkedIn. Soliciting recommendations from previous employers and co-workers is tricky. First of all, never overwhelm new connections with a recommendation request right away. Second, don’t spam your entire network with requests. Be tactical and tactful; only reach out to those with whom you have (or have had) a strong professional relationship. People are more likely to respond to requests that are simple and easy. Explain the specific skill sets you’re hoping to emphasize on LinkedIn and then politely request a recommendation — once and only once… 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.

5.) Send requests more than twice
LinkedIn automatically reminds the person you’ve asked if he or she hasn’t yet answered your invitation. Be patient. Re-sending an invite will only lower your chances for success.

Don’t let this list scare you away from LinkedIn; when used correctly, it’s a great tool with few, if any, major drawbacks. Once you become more familiar with the way LinkedIn works and the best ways to reach out to more connections, you’ll be able to build your network of professional relationships and take advantage of everything the platform has to offer.

Founder & CEO of WJ Enterprises

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