How Much Self-Promotion Is Right On LinkedIn?

iStock_000000470135_MediumLinkedIn is a wonderful tool and the vast majority of professionals and job seekers of all ages now use LinkedIn. It’s hardly “new” anymore. The question du jour is: how much self-promotion is right on LinkedIn? The answer is a lot, if it isn’t too shamelessly over the top or obviously not true. On a personal basis, LinkedIn is a platform to create the best packaging of you—your experience, accomplishments, and skills. Done the right way, it can serve as a magnet for recruiters and help you accelerate your career. There are now tools baked into the platform which will allow you to create content and shine a light on your expertise.

So in answering the question about how much self-promotion is right, here are a few basic LinkedIn “dos” and “don’ts”.

1. Have a well-done head shot on your profile. No family photos or high school year book pictures. Save those for Facebook please.

2. Have a full, robust profile—List every job, accomplishment, and award. Don’t take liberties with the truth, please. Just the facts ‘mam. But no need to be modest. And be sure to have a crisp summary of your skills incorporating relevant key words.

3. Connect with others often in a graceful, personal way. Please, no default invites. Write a short invite. Build your network and keep building it. Never stop. The more (genuine) connections are better. You don’t have to know someone well to connect, but they should not be total strangers.

4. Publish intelligent pieces using the LinkedIn publishing tool that demonstrates your expertise

5. Join groups and engage others in conversation appropriately.

1. Invite people to connect who you don’t know. It’s creepy. They hardly have to be close friends, but my rule is that you need at least one point of contact.

2. Don’t try to sell stuff to people who you don’t know (or barely know). In fact, you’d be wise not to try to sell too hard on LinkedIn in any event.

3. Don’t lie on your background about your education, job history, or accomplishments. If you want to leave off some jobs, that’s OK. But don’t exaggerate or do some revisionist history of your education, title, or where you worked. (This always comes back to bite you)

4. Don’t be over the top and brag about how you’re the “best”

5. Don’t ask people you hardly know, and have no clue about your skills, for a recommendation.

In general, it is very wise to use LinkedIn to promote yourself. The tool is made for creating the best packaging of you. Just be wary of being too over the top in your zeal to be seen and liked. If you feel you’re trying too hard, you probably are. But promote your gracefully, appropriately, and consistently and you will be thankful that you did.

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