LinkedIn is a wonderful platform. It allows professionals from all over the world to network, interact, promote their services and more. But if you’re new to LinkedIn, it might seem like an intimidating place.
What should you say? What should you not say? What’s appropriate for a platform that’s a professional place and a social media site?
Here are the top 5 mistakes I’ve seen personally on LinkedIn. If you’re doing these, you might be hurting your professional reputation and alienating your network—without even knowing it.
Selfies have overrun the Internet. It’s no surprise that they pop up on LinkedIn too. But selfies aren’t a good idea for a professional networking site—not as a shared post and definitely not as your profile picture.
You really only want to share articles, industry news and interesting facts about your work. For profile pictures, take the time to get a quality photo. Wear a suit or business clothes, choose a subtle background and—most importantly—hand the camera to someone else.
Arguing about politics.
I see this all the time. Big battles break out on comment strings under seemingly innocent posts. One minute the original poster is supporting a charity event, and the next her connections are arguing about a controversial presidential candidate.
Please don’t do this. For one, everything you do shows up in your own feed—so all of your connections see your snarky comments. Two, there is a time and a place for politics. A networking site is just not one of them. You run the risk of turning off connections who believe differently than you. And that completely goes against the point of your LinkedIn profile.
Using chat-speak and not editing your comments for grammar.
Out of the two comments below, which comes off as more professional?
“Hey congrats on ur award, u desserve it.”
“Congratulations! They couldn’t have chosen a more deserving candidate.”
The latter, right?
Remember that LinkedIn conversations are not text chats with friends. You want your comments to be smart and professional. You’re on LinkedIn to impress, remember?
So spell out your words and take that extra minute to edit your post before sending. Trust me, it will go a long way toward making you look good.
Acting like a know-it-all.
LinkedIn lets you talk with professionals within your industry, and that’s awesome. What’s not awesome? That one person who feels like they have to talk down to everyone and show off their knowledge on every topic.
Don’t be that person. If you begin a conversation, approach the other participants with respect. Even if you disagree, you can do it in a way that doesn’t feel insulting. For example, take a look at these two responses:
“You’re totally wrong, and your post makes no sense!”
“Hey, there! That’s an interesting perspective—I hadn’t heard it before. Personally, I feel differently about this topic.”
Two sentences accomplishing the same thing: disagreeing with someone in the conversation. But the second one opens up dialogue, while the first shuts it down.
Posting inappropriate content.
Have you ever been scrolling through Facebook and—BAM—suddenly come across something really inappropriate? Your cheeks flush and you look around you, hoping nobody saw. Then you hide the post and click away.
You definitely don’t want your connections to feel like that about your LinkedIn profile. Keep racy images away from your LinkedIn—and hopefully off of other social media sites, as well.
Also, you know those purposefully shocking political or conspiracy memes? You really shouldn’t share those either. Especially if they lack thought or research—you don’t want your connections to think you’re a person who lacks critical thinking skills. Just be mindful of how your posts come across to the people who see them.
So, now that you've seen the list, are you making any of these mistakes? What are your LinkedIn pet peeves?