LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. With more than 500 million users, and nearly half of them active on a regular basis, there is no better place online (or possibly offline) to connect professionally. LinkedIn is my favorite place to do business and to find great people to work with and learn from. But with all the great things you can do on LinkedIn, there are a few things you should never do on LinkedIn. Here are five of them.

Never Use LinkedIn as a Digital Resume

LinkedIn is a great place to showcase your professional skills and experience, but if you’re just copying your resume into your LinkedIn profile, you are missing out on the opportunity to really stand out in the network. Never just paste your resume information into your LinkedIn profile. Never just paste your resume information into your LinkedIn profile. That isn’t LinkedIn’s purpose.

What You Should Do Instead

LinkedIn can go well beyond the resume, highlighting skills, projects and professional interests. Unlike a formal resume, your profile should be conversational in tone, and can include video, images and presentations to highlight you and the products or services you offer, to help you stand out from the crowd. You can use the summary section to highlight what you can do and how you help people and businesses. Your profile includes sections for awards, honors, recognitions and certifications, as well as recommendations from colleagues, clients & others who have worked with you. Just don’t exaggerate. It won’t help you—and when your contacts discover the deception, it will hurt you.

Never Use LinkedIn as a Dating Site

Never Use LinkedIn as a Dating Site

LinkedIn is for business networking. It’s not a dating site. Do NOT message your contacts telling them how beautiful/handsome/etc. they are and ask for a date. Or worse yet, marriage. It’s not flattering, it’s creepy, and it will get you reported and blocked faster than almost anything else you can do on the site. I don’t know that it happens to men as much, but this is one of the biggest complaints I hear from women.

What You Should Do Instead

If you’re really looking for social interaction, try Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or a dating site, though, you’re still not likely to get a warm reception on social media if you’re hitting on women or men you don’t already know. Keep your LinkedIn interactions professional and respectful. Use LinkedIn to make connections with people who can help you advance and enhance your professional reputation.

Never Send Blind Connection Requests

Don’t send the default LinkedIn connection request, especially to people you don’t already know well. It’s fine if you’re adding your brother-in-law or your best friend, but when you’re trying to expand your network a “Joe Schmoe invited you to connect” doesn’t tell someone why they should connect with you.

What You Should Do Instead

LinkedIn has a section that pops up called “People You May Know” with “Connect” buttons under their photos. DO NOT click on that button to connect. It will immediately send a generic connection request without giving you an opportunity to personalize it. Instead, go to their profile and connect from there. Add a brief personal note to the invitation, letting them know why you’d like to connect with them. Your chances of receiving a positive response are much higher this way. And always send a welcome and thank you to those who accept your invitations—or whose invitations you have accepted. Make your LinkedIn relationship a relationship and not just another name on your list.

Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business

Never Pitch Strangers On LinkedIn

Do not connect with someone so you can invite them to become part of your network marketing team, or so you can immediately send them a sales pitch for your product unless they have specifically indicated an interest in the product or service you offer. And never add your connections to your email list if they have not given you permission to do so.

What You Should Do Instead

Take the time to get to know your new connection and learn why they connected with you before initiating a business deal.  Invite a new connection to develop the relationship via a phone call, online video chat or face-to-face meeting. Make the focus on learning about their business and needs, not on figuring out how to turn them into a customer or downline. Offer to introduce your connections to persons who they may have mutual interests with. If you offer value and build the relationship, when they have an interest in your services they are more likely to approach you, making the whole sales process so much easier and less awkward.


Never Confuse LinkedIn with Facebook

Cat videos, pictures of last night’s dinner and political (or other) rants are better suited for Facebook than LinkedIn. Posts on LinkedIn don’t have to boringly business-like, but they should relate to the business world—or to your business. If you aren’t sure whether it’s LinkedIn appropriate, it probably isn’t.

What You Should Do Instead

Focus your LinkedIn postings on subjects interesting, engaging and useful in the business world. Share good news about your company, inspirational and motivational thoughts, articles that are relevant in your niche or to the general business world. Write LinkedIn articles that showcase your skills and solve problems or contain useful, actionable information for your contacts. Use a profile photo that is a professional headshot, one that conveys the image you want in the business world. Keep your tone professional and respectful and avoid controversy for the sake of controversy.

LinkedIn can be an invaluable resource for advancing your career, growing your business and building great business relationships. Avoid the things you should never do on LinkedIn, thoughtfully complete your profile, interact wisely and regularly and in just minutes a day you can become a LinkedIn master.

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