How Not To Embarrass Yourself On LinkedIn

LINKHow exciting! You’ve just received a great introduction to a big potential client. And as you and your team work hard to whip up a stellar pitch, what do you think the potential client is doing.

Related: How to Use LinkedIn Analytics to Boost Your Marketing Efforts

She?s researching you, of course. And chances are, the first place she?ll go to learn more about your background, experience and personality is LinkedIn.

What?s she going to find when she pulls up your profile? An amateurish photo? Outdated information? Unpopular political views? A lack of references?

In business, it?s vital to focus on developing a quality LinkedIn profile and avoid making a poor first impression. Here are five ways to ensure you don’t embarrass yourself on this fast-growing and powerful platform:

1. Stop using unprofessional photos.

LinkedIn is not Facebook, Instagram or any typical social network. It’s a place to show your professional side, and that starts with your photo. A picture of you slamming beers won?t do; neither will a family reunion. You want a clean, professional headshot with a white or neutral background. If you don?t already have one, hire a professional photographer.

Related: 7 Tips to Make Sure Your LinkedIn Picture Is Helping, Not Hurting, Your Prospects

2. Stop forgetting to update your profile.

If a potential client looks you up on LinkedIn to find that your profile still says you work for your previous company, you’ve just made a poor first impression. Your profile is a living, real-time r?sum? that should be updated on a regular basis to reflect the current reality. It should also be consistent with your other public bios — especially the one on your company?s website. Always make sure to note every time you switch companies, earn a new job title or win major recognition.

3. Stop posting inappropriate updates.

Your passionate opinion about this week?s episode of The Bachelor may be appropriate for Facebook or Twitter, but it has absolutely no place on LinkedIn (unless you happen to be an entertainment journalist). Avoid posting personal or political opinions that could turn off potential employers, clients and vendors. That doesn?t mean you shouldn?t be yourself on LinkedIn; just be your professional self. If you wouldn?t say it in an office meeting, it definitely doesn?t belong on LinkedIn.?

4. Stop being a narcissist.

Have you ever been at a dinner party with a person who can?t stop talking about himself? Don?t be that person. Too many people on LinkedIn are self-promotional peacocks. They post constant streams of updates and group comments that promote their company, their products, an upcoming event or an article they just wrote. No one wants to connect with someone who blatantly self-promotes all the time. And employers don?t want to hire people who seem to always put themselves before the team.