Ever receive an endorsement from someone you don’t know, or a random connection request with no message or follow up email? You’re not alone. As a young professional, it is important to keep LinkedIn updated with milestones and skills. However, there are times when the social aspect of LinkedIn takes over the professional side. If you’re looking to get the most value out of your LinkedIn account, avoid some of these “social” mistakes.

Don’t Treat LinkedIn like Facebook

Seriously, don’t.

Two words: professional network. LinkedIn is not the place for arbitrary statuses or pictures. Your colleagues don’t want to see what you did last weekend, or your latest family portrait. Share articles related to your industry or professional interests. Even an update on your professional achievements is okay. The cuteness level of your grandson is not okay. (See below, and yes, I did see this on LinkedIn).

Become a valuable resource for other professionals. LinkedIn users want to share and view content that is useful to their industry or professional development. (Learn more about what to post and not to post on LinkedIn.)

linkedin baby

Change that Profile Picture

LinkedIn profile pictures should be a professional head shot. If you don’t have one, it definitely shouldn’t be the picture from that party last week, or a picture with your friend or pet. If you wouldn’t be comfortable with an interviewer seeing the picture, don’t post it. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Your picture is usually the first thing someone sees on your profile, and it’s important that it sends the right message: “Hire me!” If you need more help with your profile picture, try here.

linked in bad pic

Random Endorsements

“But we’ve never even worked together.” If you’ve ever said this to yourself while on LinkedIn, you understand how confusing it can be to receive random endorsements. How does this person know anything about my amazing ninja skills? They don’t. They probably just want you to give them an endorsement back. In this case, LinkedIn can even remind some people of MySpace (woah, #ThrowbackThursday), or for our younger readers, Instagram, where people like your pictures just so you will return the favor.

If you have worked with someone, and can back up your endorsement, go for it! If not, they will probably never know you skipped over their endorsement section.

Connection Requests

Everyone loves to see requests. Don’t deny it! (Pun intended.) Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, we all seem to get that little feeling of social media joy when we see that “+1” marker. However, when we click on the request and see it’s from a complete stranger and we have no mutual friends or connections, we lose that little piece of joy we experienced a second ago.

LinkedIn is a professional networking site, and it’s okay to try to connect with someone in your industry. However, after connecting with someone, send them a message or email about why you wanted to connect. It doesn’t have to be a sales pitch, but just a short, general introduction. It makes everyone seem less like that teenager on Instagram just trying to pump up their Followers. If you were at a networking event, you wouldn’t just shake someone’s hand and then walk away. At least I hope not. Treat LinkedIn the same way.

linked in best friends

The moral of the story is LinkedIn should only be used in a professional manner. While it is a social network, it’s more “Networking Event social” than “Spring Break social”. It’s important to keep your profile up to date, neat, and work related. If you follow the above guidelines, you can’t go wrong! Now go out there and connect like a champion!

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