LinkedIn is not your friend

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Back in 2008 when I was still working at the agency, we were all buzzing with excitement about this new platform, LinkedIn. We regarded it as “the professional Facebook” since the all-encompassing term “social media” was not yet common.
At the time, we all recognized the awesome power LinkedIn could have with respect to finding candidates and growing our professional networks.

I love LinkedIn. Over the years, they have developed innovative tools for companies in general, and recruiters in particular. It became my go-to platform that I used daily. I love the people at LinkedIn. They have remained friendly and helpful despite the growing pains typical of companies that expand at this supersonic pace.

For those who do not use LinkedIn as frequently, I can tell you that it’s a wonderful way to keep in touch with former bosses, employees, colleagues and suppliers and to stay aware of new jobs available in your sector and in your area – even have them delivered straight to your inbox. In addition, it can be a way of connecting with people whom you don’t yet know but who could have a positive impact on your career.

With the rise in popularity of all social media platforms, it seems as though everyone has a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr account. Unfortunately, it would appear as though LinkedIn has been lumped in with the bunch since it is, after all, a social media platform.

LinkedIn is your professional network.

They don’t want to see a vacation photo with someone cropped out as a profile picture. They don’t want to figure out which number comes next in the Sudoku square. And, to my knowledge, no business or social issue has ever been resolved with a meme.

Your professional network includes people who want to hire you, do business with you or who can refer you. Overly casual posts and shares on LinkedIn hurt your image.

Respecting the space LinkedIn occupies is ultimately respecting your career.

Here are 3 quick suggestions for anyone who wants to reflect a more professional image:

  1. Professional Network = Professional Picture While it would be a bit over the top to go out and hire a photographer, it’s easy to have a businesslike profile picture. Throw on a blazer, stand in front of a wall or curtain and have a colleague or family member snap a headshot with your smart phone. Done and done.
  2. Care about the share The awesome power of social media is that it is so easy to share content, and LinkedIn introduced its Influencers a few years ago. They are pieces written by today’s thought leaders that span a broad range of topics. Their posts definitely share-worthy.
  3. What you say, stays When you comment on something, your entire network sees what your comment was and what you commented on. While this is fine for a “Congrats!” to a co-worker who got a promotion, do you really want the VPs at your company to know what made you “lol”?

LinkedIn is an incredible tool that has the potential to help you in your career, if it hasn’t already. By behaving the same way as you do in your job, you can to tap into this potential and begin maximizing the power of this amazing platform.