LinkedIn was created as an online social networking platform for professionals, allowing them to connect and forge productive and successful working relationships worldwide. However, there are a number of elements where users fail to follow the codes of conduct expected of a professional network which can damage individual reputations and the brands they represent.
Employers and recruitment specialist also utilise LinkedIn when dealing with prospective candidates so it is essential that you use the platform properly. Make sure you avoid the major pitfalls of using LinkedIn learning from the common mistakes below.
Profile pictures including children, pets and bikini-clad members have all found their way on to this social networking site and are never well received. Remember, prospective new connections or clients are interested in the benefits of forging a working relationship with you, not seeing one of your holiday snaps. Present yourself as a professional with a simple head and shoulders profile picture.
Remember, never comment on someone else’s profile picture – this is a professional network, not Facebook!
Connecting with others in your field of expertise or industry is the whole point of LinkedIn existing. Connecting with everyone and anyone only clogs your news feed with articles that aren’t relevant to the work you do but also give others the impression that you don’t really have a professional identity and don’t really know what you’re doing.
Check out LinkedIn’s InMaps tool to see how your connections span, are you focusing on just a few categories or are you too spread out?
This is a big LinkedIn no-no. We all like to receive recommendations from connections, but if you’ve never worked with or even met this person then it is unethical to receive recommendations from them.
Although you cannot stop this happening, the connection that gave you the recommendation in the first place is hoping that you will reciprocate and do the same for them – regardless if you’ve worked together or not.
The best way to deal with this situation is to send a polite InMail message asking them if you have ever done business before, and if not, ask if they would cease giving you recommendations as you aren’t willing to do the same for them.
Not using your full name
We’ve all come across members who do not use their full name on their profile. Whatever their reasons for doing so, this violates the LinkedIn user agreement and sets alarm bells ringing when members receive invites from profiles without full names.
This is typically a trick used by spammers, therefore you must always use your full name when setting up your profile.
Sending an invite to connect is fine, as is an InMail message – but if a member fails to respond within a reasonable time it usually means that they’re not prepared to connect with you at this stage, especially if you have never met and have no connections in common.
Instead of sending further invites and Inmail’s that might seem like your harassing them, work on building up connections that you may have in common or take another look at your profile and add any elements that give you something in common.
Generally, a good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t say it at a face-to-face networking event or write it on your CV, then it’s probably not suitable for LinkedIn.