10 Rules of LinkedIn


I am a reluctant but early adopter of LinkedIn. Turning a skeptical eye to this platform helped to inform best practices. LinkedIn is truly a fascinating platform that is easily misused. It amplifies your professional identity, a terrible idea if you have poor understanding of your industry or outright bad professional judgment. There really aren’t any hard and fast rules about how to use this LinkedIn. There is only your judgment and examples of good, bad and undecided.

Based on my personal, albeit limited experience with LinkedIn here are some rules I would propose.

    1. LinkedIn is not a job interview, it’s a social platform for professionals. Be friendly and social. Apply professional rules of conduct. Good grammar. Neat appearance. Don’t curse or make crude/racist/homophobic “jokes.”
    2. Have confidence because you are a worthwhile person, it will be obvious.
    3. LinkedIn is not your online resume, it’s a profile. Although there exists a great third party feature allowing you to apply for some jobs using your LinkedIn account. Embrace shattering the one page resume rule! Really tell us who you are. I once had an Islamic Civilizations course I took at a community college be the reason for a job interview.
    4. Please stop calling yourself an “Expert,” “Rock Star,” or “Ninja.” Unless you’re Gene Simmons, an actual expert witness for hire or Bruce Lee incarnate, it sounds inauthentic and egotistical. Years of experience, education and competence demonstrate expertise, not self-declarations.
    5. Please don’t add me to your network if you don’t know me or my industry just so I will endorse your skills. I have no idea what skills you possess, if any.
    6. Use spell check.
    7. Don’t lie. When you ask to add me to your network, don’t lie and say we’re friends or classmates or colleagues. Yes, omitting your spotty job history is a lie. It’s your conversation, reframe your history and ask for introductions.
    8. Don’t post bad selfies. This includes: bathroom photos, seat belted in my car photos, fuzzy or blurry images, bad lighting, drivers license photos, college ID photos, mug shots (yes, it happens) and any image featuring red eye, cigarette smoke or half of some else’s face.
    9. If you find an interesting blog or article, share it on your feed. Just make sure you read it first. LinkedIn isn’t a bookmarking tool. There are some clever marketers out there putting up well titled articles with bad content.
    10. Join groups. Contribute to the groups you join. I find great enjoyment in the collegiality and wisdom of groups within LinkedIn. Share your hard won wisdom.

and of course, be nice.