“Oh, look… another idiot on LinkedIn… Next!”
This is the LAST thing you want a recruiter, headhunter or potential connection to think when the find you on LinkedIn. That’s why it’s crucial to present a connection-worthy first impression on this powerful portal – not only in your profile pic, headline and summary, but also – and perhaps more importantly – your activity and interactions with others.
In other words, don’t look like a LinkedIn idiot – or “In-diot”!
So, what makes a person an In-diot… and how can you avoid looking like one on LinkedIn?
An In-diot lacks the common sense, courtesy and/or etiquette the rest of us intrinsically expect (and perhaps take for granted) in our professional interactions with others. Having been a Recruiter/Headhunter who has used (and still uses) LinkedIn quite extensively, I’ve witnessed varying degrees of In-diocy, each with its own degree of credibility-kill potential.
Here are the top 3 that make me (and other recruiters) cringe…
1) Treating LinkedIn Like a Social Network
“Duh!” you say? Well, you’d be surprised. Over the past several months, I’ve received messages in my LinkedIn inbox stating the following (no joke):
- “Hi, How are you? What’s goin’ on?”
- “You look nice, thought we might connect…”
Or my favorite: the well thought-out and strategically expressed…
First and foremost, LinkedIn is a professional networking portal. Do not use it as your own personal dating site or as your source for social activities (um, that’s why we have Facebook). Not only is this practice incredibly unethical and inappropriate, anyone who uses it as such is instantly branded as a “creep” – immediately killing their credibility.
2) Misrepresenting Yourself in Connection Requests
When you send a ‘Connection’ request to someone on LinkedIn, you are asked to choose the association by which you know the person. LinkedIn gives you a number of options to choose, including “Colleague”, “Classmate”, “We’ve done business together” etc. Be sure you choose the accurate and proper association; this ensures your request gets the attention and response you desire.
If you don’t already know the person, take heed: this is where LinkedIn, out of concern for the privacy of its members, gets tricky. Do NOT click an improper association as doing so not only indicates laziness, but ticks people off (including myself). If you do not actually know someone yet, find a common connection within your extended network on LinkedIn who can make an introduction to that person. Or join a group that LinkedIn member belongs to already (as shown toward the bottom of their profile). Do the right thing. Take the high road. The creepy approach, in the long-term, will not help you.
3) Busting Out a Bad Attitude
LinkedIn Groups are terrific resource that enables you to talk directly to, and interact with, others in niche communities on a variety of topics relevant to your career or industry. Most importantly, these groups allow you to learn and share in an informal, yet professional, environment.
And yet, in a recent career group discussion about smart interview strategies, amidst many positive comments and conversation threads, I saw the following:
- “This is useless and has never worked for me.”
- “Complete waste of time.”
- “Recruiters are all the same. They’re biased.”
Based on such a reactive and negative disposition, would you want to hire this person? Or work with them? How would they act in a situation representing your company with a client if there was a difference of opinion?
These are things that recruiters and potential employers look at when considering anyone as a potential candidate. It’s not just can you do the job, but how you would do the job!
As my dad says sometimes, “Don’t be Negative Nelly!” Do not use LinkedIn Groups and Discussions as your own personal sounding board or to express frustrations. What you write is out there for anyone to see… and trust me, we see everything.
Don’t be an In-diot!
Take special thought and care to craft a consistent – and credible – image on LinkedIn, which is the personal ‘brand’ you present in the professional world.
About the Author: Vicki Aubin, the Rockin’ Career Coach, is a coach, speaker, and author. Based in New York City, Vicki helps extraordinary individuals who are suffering in a cubicle to unleash their inner rockstar, market their juiciest talents, and fast-track their transition to a kick-ass career. With over 10 years in Human Resources and Recruiting, Vicki has spent thousands of hours on LinkedIn sourcing and recruiting candidates is the author of “Headhunter LinkedIn Super Secrets.” Connect with Vicki on Twitter!