Don't Make These 4 Mistakes In Your Linkedin Update

by: Joanne Meehl

Your LinkedIn "update box" can help or hurt you. Don't get political -- and other don'ts.

Frequently, I get the question, "What do I put in my LinkedIn update line?" That's the box to the right of your photo on your LinkedIn home page which says in gray, "Share an update". I tell clients you should update this once a week or so at minimum.

Some ideas on what to say:

Short comment about an initiative that you're leading at work, obviously not revealing any proprietary info
A tidbit from a seminar you gave, whether? at work or for a professional organization or job search group
Seminar or webinar you attended - comment on the value gained, new idea you'll be using
A short comment about the volunteer work you're doing
A compliment to a speaker or author, with a link to their site
Link to share -- to an article or video related to your work, with a short comment
A stimulating question about your work or profession or industry
A comment about a professional organization meeting you attended, with info about the program
A link to an article or blog entry you wrote
An inspiring quote
Your latest Tweet (you can get Twitter to do this automatically by adding #in to the Tweet, which gets it to also become an update on LinkedIn)
What about your ideas?

What NOT to say

Your update is a public message to all your first-tier connections. And their first-tier connections. Because your closest friends "get" what you "really" mean, does not mean others will understand. So be careful you avoid these four mistakes:

Posting angry stuff -- about your company, your job search, anything -- you will only come across as intemperate. Nothing scares an employer more than someone with what they perceive to be anger issues.
Posting political stuff -- don't assume your connections agree with your choice of candidate or your opinion on court decisions or your thoughts on what "must" take place in any upcoming election. You could easily turn off half your network, AND come across as a bully. Use your own blog for such commentary (but be careful who's able to see it).
Posting religious stuff -- sure, it's fine to be faithful, but if this is your only topic, OR if your posts read like "my belief is the ONLY right belief", you will lose credibility and connections. Tolerance in all things is the best approach.
Posting questionable humor -- sure, you think it's funny, your friends think it's funny, but humor is interpreted in wildly different ways. Stay with content that's G rated.
Don't ignore the Update line. And don't make mistakes that will hurt your career or your job search. This small area on LinkedIn gives you the frequent chance to reinforce your "brand" -- what you do well, what you enjoy about your work -- whether you're in a great job or about to find it.


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