When I talk to people about LinkedIn, I always get a mixed reaction. People don’t exactly have a “love it or hate it” with the world’s largest business-oriented social network. It’s more that they know it’s a great source for business opportunities, but they really haven’t taken the time to understand the platform or explore what they should or shouldn’t post here.

This is made even more confusing by the fact that LinkedIn is becoming more and more social. Go to your LinkedIn feed, and you’ll see your connections sharing stories, links, and posts, just like they do on Facebook. But LinkedIn isn’t Facebook; it’s unlike any other social network, and there are a few things that you should never, ever publish if you want to build your brand and get more opportunities for your business.

UNPROFESSIONAL PROFILE PICS

No, you don’t have to go get a professional headshot for your LinkedIn profile picture – it’s not quite that serious. At the same time, you need to consider that people looking at your LinkedIn profile are going to judge whether or not they want to do business with you based on this picture and the information they find in your profile.

So, if you’re thinking about whether or not to post a particular picture as your profile pic on LinkedIn, here are a few things to avoid:

• Blurry images that make viewers squint at the screen
• Mirror selfies
• Pictures with weird Snapchat filters or over-saturated Instagram filters
• Full-body pictures that don’t show your face
• Your pets
• Cropped group shots
In general, stick to a simple headshot where you’re smiling at the camera and you’re wearing normal business clothes. You can go a bit more casual if that fits your brand, but err on the side of business appropriate.

YOUR “OBJECTIVE”

Up until a few years ago, it seemed like employers all expected you to have a section at the top of your résumé where you wrote a short paragraph about your career objectives. These were always awkward, and everyone hated writing them, but they were just a default part of résumés.

The “Objective” section of the typical résumé has all but disappeared, but some people are still including it in their LinkedIn profiles. This may be because LinkedIn has a “Summary” section above the “Experience” section for your profile. Don’t use that section to write an awkward “objective” that could change, depending on whether you’re looking for a new job, starting a business, or looking for new partners or investors. Instead, write a concise and clear summary of who you are, what you do, and how you do it.

LONG PARAGRAPHS ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE

If you want important people in your industry to take note of your experience on LinkedIn, make it easy for them. Don’t write long paragraphs about the work you did. Instead, include a few brief bullet points that hit the appropriate keywords and phrases to illustrate your experience to others in your industry.

There are other things you shouldn’t do on LinkedIn, as well, like neglecting your privacy settings if your boss doesn’t already know that you’re working on starting your own business or posting pictures of a crazy night in Vegas on your LinkedIn feed. Those should be pretty obvious, though, so just make sure that you follow these tips if you want your LinkedIn profile to work for you instead of against you.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for entrepreneurs. Use it wisely, and it can do a lot for you as you build your brand and your business. Learn 4 Tips for a Killer LinkedIn Profile

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