LinkedIn is not Facebook.

Yes, both are online social media.Yes, both have blue logos.

Yes, both were founded in California, in 2003 and 2004. In fact, LinkedIn was born before Facebook. I bet you thought it was the other way around ;-).

But, LinkedIn’s mission is not a social one. Its distinction from Facebook is that it is exclusively for business.

When networking online, to avoid virtual faux-pas and professional embarrassment, I have put together twelve actions to improve your LinkedIn profile. Your virtual identity depends on it.

1. Add a professional photo.

It is the basis of your online brand. Without a picture, the majority of us believe that your account is not official. It may even be perceived as spam. Your pic should be free or sunglasses, Flufffy, Honey or Baby. The exceptions would be if you work for a pet company, with your spouse or represent an organization for newborns. Your background also counts. It should be sober, maybe a textured wall, but not a sunny beach. Unless, you work as a lifeguard.

2. Accept and invite people you’ve met at networking events.

Connecting on LinkedIn is my favourite way to begin or continue the conversation with a new business acquaintance.

3. Always add a personalized message.

Take the time to make your connection and recommendation requests relevant. Do the same when you accept an invitation, make it pertinent from the other’s perspective. Not sure what to write? Do your homework. Read their profile and show them the value of connecting with you.

4. Activate message notifications.

Reply to your messages within the same delay as you would your emails. Especially if you are in job search mode. If not, you might miss out on great opportunities.

5. Adjust your activity feed notices.

Your connections will tire of seeing everything you do including joining groups or recommending colleagues, suppliers or a former boss. Have no fear, they will still see your public posts.

6. Build your summary with the three qualities you want to be known for.

LinkedIn’s SEO is based on keywords. You’re not sure what they are? Read this previous post.

7. Create your summary in the first person.

Everyone knows that you wrote it yourself. Didn’t you? Although this virtual profile is the cousin of your resume, its goal is networking and when networking, online or in person, we converse with “I.”

8. Connect with people you know, who are in your field and whom you can help.

If you are wondering about the relevancy of an invitation, click “Ignore.” Conduct an online search with the person’s name and title. Then decide, to “Accept” or “Ignore.” Note: others don’t know if you choose to simply ignore them.

9. Caution, after you click “Ignore”.

Think before you click “I do not know this person.” If he or she gets too many of these notifications, they could be banned from LinkedIn.

10. Contribute content related to your job, your expertise and your industry.

Share others’ publications as well. It’s all about growing and getting better together.

11. Collaborate to make others shine online.

Be generous and genuine. Write endorsements and click to recognize skills. It’s contagious. Often a connection may reciprocate by clicking and writing.

12. Condense and customize your URL.

Here’s mine:

I look forward to making mutually beneficial relationships on LinkedIn!

Are you in a sticky situation? This blog is at your service. Write to me at Your situation may enlighten other readers.

Published April 15, 2016 Huffington Post (c) Julie Blais Comeau

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