Maybe you use it to find a new job. Or search for potential hires. Or to simply connect with colleagues on a professional level. Whatever your reason, we can all agree that LinkedIn is a helpful tool—but only when used correctly. Here are five mistakes to avoid.
1. You click on everyone’s profile. It’s one of the only social media platforms (besides Snapchat) that alerts users to who’s viewed their profile. So you may want to think twice about clicking on the page of that awful employee you had to fire a few months back. Or you can change your settings by going to the “Privacy” tab, selecting “Profile Viewing Options” and opting for “Private Mode.”
2. Your profile picture is blurry or casual. This is a résumé, people. You wouldn’t bring a picture of yourself in a sombrero from your cousin’s bachelorette to an interview, so don’t select it as your lead photo. Ask a friend or coworker to snap a pic in front of an uncluttered background with some good lighting when you're already done-up and use that instead.
3. You “connect” with everyone who adds you. Just because Dr. So-and-So requested you on LinkedIn doesn’t mean you should accept. Just like with any social network, there are fakes, phonies and scammers. Our rule of thumb? If you don’t know the person, don’t add them. They can always reach out to you via messages even if they aren’t a connection.
4. You don't reciprocate endorsements. When a connection endorses you for a skill, it's polite to return the favor on their profile under "Skills and Endorsements." The more endorsements, the more credibility you gain for your expertise.
5. You never post or interact through the site. We’re not saying you have to, but it definitely can only help as long as you’re keeping it work-related. When prospective employers (or employees) see that you posted a relevant article you found intriguing, for example, they’ll recognize your enthusiasm and passion for your craft, and it’ll set you apart from others.