LinkedIn is rapidly becoming even more of a recruiting and job seeking site these days with its acquisition by Microsoft. "Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Seekers" is still one of my most popular blog posts, so today I’m going to give you some insight on what *not* to do on LinkedIn. This applies in general, not just for job seekers.
Please Do Nots:
-Use an empty profile that has your name, location, company name, job title, and nothing else. It’s frustrating and tells us all almost exactly NOTHING. If you are going to use LinkedIn, at least entice us with *some* details. If you have taken the time to create a LinkedIn profile, at some point in your career you thought it was worth doing. Either that or you are a techno-lemming.
-Put an inappropriate picture up. LinkedIn is NOT Facebook. It is a *professional* networking site. I’m not saying you need to use a $500 executive head shot, but I do suggest you be in clothing that covers your more private parts, and doesn’t include a bucket of beer and you trying to Mambo. Also, it should be a picture of YOU. Not your wife, hottie boytoy, kids, or pets. If you don’t have a picture of yourself, use a personalized branded logo or icon. Studies prove that imagery increases your traffic.
-Try and be clever in your profile. Unless you are a stand-up comic, it brands you as juvenile. This includes using "fake" profiles such as "Super Man" from "Planet Krypton" or "Captain Jack Sparrow", profession "Pirate".
-Build your network with the generic "I’d like to add you to my network." Well, obviously. But why should I care? Who are you? What do you want from me? I have gotten to the point that if someone doesn’t at least write me one personalized sentence then I ignore requests.
-SPAM groups by doing nothing but put up promotional crap. I’ve gotten people kicked out of groups before because all they do is put up sales ads. Believe me, I’ve been asked to be a moderator on several groups because I’m vigilant and try to keep the integrity of those groups; if it becomes too much, I leave them. The single biggest complaint from group members is TOO MUCH SPAM.
-Post questions that you could have answered with just one Google search. Guess what…it brands you as someone that doesn’t know what you are doing and as unable to figure the simplest thing out, which presages poor professional habits. (This goes for online discussion communities as well.)
-Be argumentative in discussions. If you chime in with a well-thought response to an ongoing discussion, and other people disagree, withdraw from the conversation. Just because you hold a certain viewpoint doesn’t make it automatically valid. Don’t engage in an online debate; it isn’t worth it.
-Forget that LinkedIn is a multi-cultural and international community. I was once on an HR discussion thread where an HR professional from India was asking a question about the best astrological forecast to extend an offer to a candidate. There were two people from North America that got themselves a lot of heat for telling the poster how "stupid" her question was. Moral of the story: be culturally sensitive; if you cannot say something nice or add value to the conversation, move along and leave it alone.
BR />-Update your profile multiple times in a day. Again, this isn’t Facebook or Twitter. Keep that utility worthwhile for yourself, and don’t send 15 updates a day to everyone in your network, or you might find yourself losing your professional connections.