Stop Embarrassing 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?

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 Outdated information?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.