LinkedIn Social Networking Job Search

I thought it was just me who was getting a bit annoyed with LinkedIn lately. Then one of my Facebook friends commented that LinkedIn was starting to look a lot like Facebook. He’s right – with Happy Birthdays, inappropriate profile pictures, and cute memes it can be hard to tell the difference sometimes.

I’ll refrain from commenting on the LinkedIn ad for “Rich Dad Salt Lake City Free Seminars” because I do value LinkedIn and monetizing comes in various forms, though it does remind me of the ads I see on Facebook.

One of the dangers of crossing the imaginary line between Facebook and LinkedIn is that your LinkedIn profile is more likely to be reviewed by a recruiter or prospective employer than your Facebook page. Not that it won’t happen with Facebook, but LinkedIn is where employers go looking for candidates, and you should expect to be found. When you do get found, it’s important to make the right impression.

What shouldn’t you do on LinkedIn? The best way to manage LinkedIn is to remember three words – keep it professional. Yes, it really is that simple. Here are some of the things you shouldn’t, and should, be doing on LinkedIn.

9 Things Not to Do on LinkedIn

1. Forget the Purpose of LinkedIn. There are three reasons why LinkedIn is useful to you: it provides information, it’s a billboard to highlight your unique value proposition, and recruiters will be looking for you there. That’s important to keep in mind.

2. Confuse LinkedIn With Facebook. In a similar vein, be careful what you share. LinkedIn isn’t Facebook. Share content, advice and opinions that boost your professional credentials. It’s all about relevancy. Save the other non-work related stuff for Facebook.

3. Use the Wrong Photo. Don’t include your kid, your cat, your dog, your significant other, your latest vacation or the kitchen sink in your LinkedIn profile picture. LinkedIn is about the professional you, not the personal you and it’s not hard to keep it that way. Here’s how to pick a perfect LinkedIn photo.

4. Ignore LinkedIn Messages. Everyone gets tons of email and messages and it’s easy to ignore them, especially when you don’t know who is writing to you. One of my connections received two messages from recruiters on LinkedIn this week, both were about solid job opportunities. She’s happy with her current position, but if she hadn’t been paying attention she would have missed the messages.

5. Have a Mismatch in Your Profile. Don’t raise any red flags by having a LinkedIn profile that doesn’t match your resume. Double check job titles (yes, they matter and they need to be accurate), employer names and dates of employment. Be sure everything lines up, so when a prospective employer reviews your resume it will match what you have on LinkedIn.

6. Forget to Get a Personalized URL. A custom LinkedIn URL makes a terrific addition to your resume and business card, it will help you build your brand, and get your profile noticed. Here’s mine,, for example, and here’s how to customize your own LinkedIn profile URL.

7. Ask People You Don’t Know for Recommendations or Referrals. I am always a little annoyed when someone I don’t know well asks me for a referral or recommendation. If I don’t know you well enough to be able to attest personally to your value, I’m not going to jeopardize my relationships with my connections by referring or recommending you. I’m sorry, but I work hard on my network and it’s worth a lot to me. Here’s how to get recommendations on LinkedIn.

8. Forget to Turn Off Your Activity Broadcasts. When you’re updating and tweaking your profile, especially when you’re employed and you don’t want the boss to know you’re job searching, it’s a good idea to turn off your activity broadcasts so your updates don’t show in your feed.

9. Send Messages That Would Be Better Off Left Unsent. On the lighter side, my In Box this week included a message from my favorite lady admirer who writes to me now and then, one from a gentleman who would like to get to know me, and a request for an introduction to Barack Obama. Those three words – keep it professional – came to mind as I read each of them. Here are a few guidelines to remember when writing a message on LinkedIn.