Your LinkedIn “To Do” List Should Include These 5 “Don’ts”

LinkedinOne of the primary benefits of joining LinkedIn as a social network is its almost exclusive focus on career and professional endeavors.

In sometimes stark contrast to Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn members have developed preferred ways to communicate with each other via the system’s features and functions. As the platform has evolved, some connection and communication techniques have become more effective than others.

How can you make the best of your LinkedIn account? Here are a few tips to add to your LinkedIn “to do” list, in the form of some valuable “don’ts”:

Don’t Just Send the Default Invitation to Connect

“I’d like to add you to my professional network” is the standard text you’ll find when you decide to send an invitation to another LinkedIn user. Leaving this as is, frankly, doesn’t say much about who you are and why you want to connect.

It’s easy to add a sentence or two to personalize a message for each recipient. Public relations expert Sakita Holley provides six scenarios (e.g., former boss, prospective employer) and invitation examples.

Don’t Connect as a “Friend” if You’re not a Friend

Unless… this is the only way you have to make the connection and you can explain why you want to connect per item #1 above, don’t do it.

Can you find an email address for the person online? Are you members of the same LinkedIn Groups? Social media consultant Jeff Bullas notes that connecting as a friend “is a major pet peeve for many professionals on LinkedIn.” Exhaust every other available options before selecting “friend” when you send out an invitation.

Don’t Describe Yourself with Overused or Effusive Terms

“Creative” and “motivated” are just two professional buzzwords recently identified by LinkedIn. Used on their own, they don’t really convey anything unique about your qualifications and potential.

Jeff Haden recommends an alternative approach: consider how you introduce yourself to someone you meet in person. Would you say: “I’m a passionate, innovative, dynamic provider of services”? Probably not. In a way, your LinkedIn profile is speaking for you – how are you being introduced?

Don’t Leave Your Profile Unfinished

Among LinkedIn influencers, there is an expectation that you’ll have some basic information completed: your name, a unique headline, location, and industry. Adding your work and education history is also expected, as is an appropriate photo, summary, and skills.

Writing online profiles can become a chore when you have multiple accounts. Journalism instructor Kenna Griffin suggests a method that will ensure you cover all of your profile bases.

Don’t Leave Your Professional Reputation to Chance

A new post from author Isa Adney stresses the need “to be intentional and thoughtful about why you have social media and the results you desire from your posts.” Setting priorities for how you want to use LinkedIn will help you make decisions regarding what you include in your profile, which LinkedIn Groups you join, and how you interact with other members via discussion boards, messages, invitations, and more.

Changing how you use LinkedIn with these “don’ts” in mind will serve you well, show you are concerned about your online professional presence… and enable you to make better connections. Get started, now!

What connection and communication tips do you suggest? Share your tips for LinkedIn use with us here!





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MelissaAbout the Author: Melissa Venable, PhD is an Education Writer for Melissa’s background includes work in higher education – private, public, and for-profit – as an instructional designer and curriculum developer. Melissa is also an experienced instructor, academic advisor and career counselor. She is actively involved in research related to online education and the support of online students. Her work has been published in The Career Development Quarterly, TechTrends, the Journal of Computing in Higher Education. Follow Melissa on Twitter!


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