LinkedIn is the hip social network for businesspeople and professionals, and you need to join the party. Whether you’re new to LinkedIn or not, here are some profile do’s and don’ts you should keep in mind.
Do Start By Connecting with Real Contacts
Your LinkedIn connections should be a reflection of your real life; they shouldn’t include people you don’t even know. Start by connecting with the people you do know, such as past and present coworkers, friends, clients, and even family members. You should focus on building relationships that are real; you should not just try to get as many as possible in order to pad your network. If you haven’t genuinely conversed with someone, you are of no benefit to each other’s networks.
Don’t Neglect Your Photo
People want to put faces to names, so make sure you upload a good, professional photo to your LinkedIn profile. The key word there is “professional.” This isn’t Facebook, so don’t worry about choosing the photo that makes you look like a lot of fun. Also, make sure your photo is of YOU. Photos of anything other than your beautiful mug are completely irrelevant and should be nixed.
Do Update Your Information Regularly
Your LinkedIn profile is supposed to help you in your professional pursuits, and other professionals will look at it. If you create a LinkedIn profile and determine you’re not thrilled with the site, don’t just abandon your profile. Either delete it, or at least keep the information current. If you are actively using your LinkedIn profile, never forget to update it to reflect changes immediately.
Don’t Get Personal
Once again – LinkedIn is for professional purposes. This means you shouldn’t get too personal on it. It’s fine to mention some of your personal interests, for example, but you shouldn’t go into great detail about your family, hobbies, friends, etc. Stick to work and work-related information. Additionally, don’t use LinkedIn in the same way you would use Facebook or Twitter, for instance. If you need to send a personal message, do so in a more appropriate channel.
Do Fine Tune Your Profile
Your LinkedIn bio matters a great deal. It’s what others will read when they want to learn more about you, so you need a bio that will impress. Take some time to read a lot of LinkedIn profiles to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t. Spend time crafting your bio so that it’s as good as you can make it. Edit carefully, and never post a bio that contains spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. Take as much care with your bio as you would with your resume or portfolio.
Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out
LinkedIn is a place where you can meet other professionals and form valuable relationships. Just because you don’t know someone doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them. Reach out and send messages. A great approach is to ask a mutual friend to introduce you. If you put an effort into building your connections, your network will naturally grow and thrive.
Andrew Surman is a marketing pro and freelance blogger who loves to write about thriving business practices and today’s top entrepreneurs.
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