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10 Ways to Avoid Looking Silly on LinkedIn

by on January 22, 2014

LinkedIn continues to grow in popularity and is used by more recruiters than any other tool right now.  While you might not be looking for a job, you might want to use LinkedIn to enhance and maintain your personal brand.  But the question is:  where do I start?  Or, I have a profile, but don’t seem to be getting anywhere, what am I doing wrong?  Here are 10 ways to avoid looking silly on LinkedIn:

Image courtesy of swishdesign.com.au

Image courtesy of swishdesign.com.au

10.  Not Completing Your Bio

Be sure to put substance in your profile.  Don’t just list your employer.  Actually give context about “what” you do and “what” you are responsible for. Don’t be afraid to show  some of the professional interests that you have.

9. Talking about Yourself in the Third Person

I have to admit that practitioners find this odd when people do this.  This is your profile.  You own it and maintain it.  I don’t know many people who speak about themselves in the third person when having a normal conversation.  So, the question is, why in the world would you choose to do that with your LinkedIn Profile?  Advice: don’t.  It is that simple.

8.  Not Using Recommendations Correctly

Like connection requests, giving LinkedIn Recommendations should be carefully considered.  Remember, Recommendations are public and visible on your profile as well as the profile of the person for whom you have written the recommendation. Sure you can manage visibility, but why bother giving a recommendation if you aren’t willing for it to be public.   You have to manage and develop your personal brand.  That being said, not giving anyone a recommendation also sends a message and not a good one.

7.  Over Sharing

Depending on your contacts and your network, the level of sharing will vary.  It is important to remember that LinkedIn is not like Twitter or Facebook.  Sharing one or two really good pieces of content/advice a day would be more than appropriate.  I only share a couple of pieces of content per week, but tend to like or comment more on the content shared by others.

In addition, LinkedIn is not the place to share what you had for dinner, where you are going on holidays, etc.  Remember that this is a professional networking site. Keep it professional.

6.  Not Using  Groups Appropriately

Groups are a great source to make connections and learn from others.  It is important to join groups that you have some interest or connection with.  Be sure to contribute to the conversation when you have something to add.  Don’t use it as a source to spam people with your services and/or products.  It is also important to be professional.

5.  Don’t Show Your Birthday

Some practitioners might disagree with me on this one, but this is not Facebook.  Why in the world would you show your birthday on a professional network?  Are you looking for birthday wishes?  Do you really want that level of personal detail available to your entire network, the public and possibly recruiters?

4.  Connecting with People When There is No Obvious Connection

Choosing whom to connect with is something that people should give great consideration.  Different people have different criteria for who they accept when new people reach out to them.  Some for example, will only accept LinkedIn connections from people that they know well and are in their respective industry.

Others, including myself, will accept LinkedIn connections from people in my industry as long as they are connected to other people I know.  I do not connect with individuals whom I don’t know and there is no obvious connection.  I also don’t accept connection requests from people who either don’t have a photo of themselves and/or it is a logo or some other odd image.

3.  Spamming People

One of the greatest pet peeves that I have, and I know that others feel this way too, is having someone ask to connect with me and then when I do, they start spamming me with:

  • Vote for me to win or be recognized for X
  • Endorse me for X
  • Recommend me for X
  • Buy my product and/or service

I did not accept your connection to be bombarded with requests or sales pitches.  If you want to ask a question or have a conversation, that is one thing. The action or reaction you will likely get from me is a disconnection.

2.  Not Having a Professional Photo

Ensure that you actually have a photo for your profile.  You should even go one step further and have a professional photo.  The photo should only be of you and not you and  your significant other and/or a buddy.  This is YOUR professional profile.

1.  Not Being truthful

Remember that this is a public profile and someone will call you out for using a more important title and/or claiming that you had a team of 50 professionals reporting to you when you in fact had no direct reports.

Of course there are other things you should/should not do.  And, if you still have questions, let me know.

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