LinkedIn is a great networking tool for professionals, but sadly many people either don’t know how to use it or over use it. I’ve found that LinkedIn has become over populated with personal posts, candid photos and articles that best belong Facebook or Twitter. It seems like users have forgotten the purpose of LinkedIn so it’s time to get back to basics. Here are my 5 basic rules for LinkedIn:
1. Have a professional head shot
I’ve seen so many profiles that contain candid profile photos where the user is either on vacation, in casual attire or with friends. LinkedIn is for professional networking so it’s important that you have a professional looking photo, ideally a head shot. You can either hire a photographer for a professional photo shoot or even ask a friend or family member to take a head shot of you in professional attire. Make sure you’re facing the camera and people can see your face clearly.
2. Keep your summary short
The summary section of your profile (in my opinion) should act as a snapshot of your experience. By reading your summary people should know what you do, what your area of expertise is and who you provide services to. A summary should ideally be one paragraph long, keep it short and simple. No one is going to spend time reading your life story on LinkedIn.
3. Don’t over share
I like to think LinkedIn is a more formal type of social media than Facebook or Twitter, so keep your posts professional. Share updates about your career, projects you’re involved in or networking/ corporate events you may be attending. Avoid posting anything too personal such as the fact that you’re having a bad day or photos of : your pet, children, wedding, spouse or vacation.
4. Join groups and participate in discussions
LinkedIn has a variety of groups you can join such as those associated with a chamber of commerce or even a specific profession. Join groups that interest you and make it a point to actively engage in discussions as well as contribute discussion topics. Keep your comments brief, professional and relevant to the topic being discussed. Share your opinion but don’t be too negative or rant in a comment, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. Sharing articles and starting discussions in groups will also help increase your exposure on LinkedIn and attract more attention to your profile.
5. Seek and give recommendations in equal measure
Many people ask for recommendations but few are willing to actually give them in return. If you ask someone for a recommendation, always make it a point to offer one back, it’s a polite and professional thing to do. If you feel you cannot write a full recommendation then try endorsing people for various skill sets that you know they possess. Make sure you maintain mutually beneficial relationships on LinkedIn and don’t be a moocher.