Whether you’re an avid social media user or a more casual browser, it’s likely that you’ve come across a status or two that made you roll your eyes. Or maybe you’ve read a post that left you wondering, “What were they thinking?”

If there’s one platform where you should be mindful of your behavior, it’s LinkedIn. This is where you communicate who you are as a professional and showcase your accomplishments. Needless to say, anything you post or share should be work-appropriate.

Here are a few LinkedIn “don’ts” to stay clear of:


1. Don’t connect with anyone you don’t know personally.

Even if you have shared connections, the general rule is to only connect with people you know. However, if you see someone interesting in your network and you want to connect with them, the best strategy is to join a group they are in, introduce yourself, and contribute to the discussion. Once you have established a presence, you can “invite to connect.” In the space provided, make sure to explain why you’d like to connect so you don’t come across as spammy.

If you have a connection in common you can also them to make an introduction, but make sure that you know the mutual acquaintance well enough that it doesn’t feel like an imposition. Leave them an out by making it easy to decline just in case they don’t feel comfortable introducing you.


2. Don’t flirt.

This isn’t Tinder. Flirting with coworkers in an office environment is inappropriate and the same rule applies on LinkedIn.

“On the one hand, the LinkedIn profile might look so juicy and attractive—how could you not write her?” Forbes reports. “But on the other hand, approaching said modern woman in their professional setting (albeit an online one), isn’t ok.”

Online harassment is a huge issue, and one that should be taken seriously. It doesn’t matter how eye-catching someone’s profile pic is: if they want a date, they’ll post their profile on a dating site. Behavior that would get you in trouble with HR at work is just as unacceptable here.


3. Don’t post anything that isn’t work-related.

If you’re feeling the urge to share a funny meme with your colleague, make sure you post it to the right place. It’s acceptable to joke around every now and then on Facebook Twitter, and other social platforms. Bonus points if you can be both funny AND tie it back to a relevant project. However, be respectful of your co-workers. If you take it too far, even on Facebook and Twitter, it could still impact your online reputation.

Jay Izso

4. Don’t underestimate the importance of your avatar.

Your photo is your opportunity to make a good first impression—it’s what will catch someone’s attention. Even an impressive resume will be passed over if your profile picture is unprofessional or inappropriate.

“Believe it or not, I came across a woman drinking wine in her profile photo the other day,” says Mallory Bulman, junior editor at Rewire Me. “It’s safe to say that it would not go over well if her employer saw that.”

While we all have a life outside of work, we want to be taken seriously by current and prospective clients and colleagues. A party animal profile picture like that conveys the wrong message.

Have you made any of these mistakes, and were there any consequences? What did you do to recover? Are there any gaffes you’d like to add to the list?

Photo credit: www.risingabovereallife.com, www.cruisingdaytona.com, www.iamerinbrown.com, Jay Izso