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I might not be as famous as Robert Scoble or Pete Cashmore but I do get my share of LinkedIn requests and one should, as with most social networks, be a little discerning about who you connect with. Maybe its not as important on Twitter or Facebook, but on LinkedIn, I think your circles definitely make a big difference. As such, there are some red flags which I use to determine pretty quickly (at last count I get over 50 requests to connect a day) in order to determine whether or not I’ll agree to connect with you. If that sounds imperious, so be it. We should all be discerning with our connections, don’t you agree? Maybe this kind of thinking is controversial and exclusive. You tell me. Even though some of the stuff below is pretty basic, I still get it.
- A photo. C’mon people. It’s 2014, and pretty much EVERY phone has a camera in it. I still get requests from people with no picture. Why is that? My immediate thought is: what are they hiding? Why don’t they have a picture there? Are they too new? If you ask me – no one should bother – and maybe even LinkedIn should make this a requirements – that you can’t initiate any connections unless you have a profile picture uploaded.
- A crappy photo. Your photo should be a more or less professional shot with just you in the picture. Pictures with your significant other are awesome for Facebook – I share my Facebook pic with my wife so we have the same picture. Plus, please make it a portrait close up of your face! I see all these pictures where people are standing in a room or something and I can barely see you. Plenty of times when I go to meet people who I’ve never met before I check out their LinkedIn profile so I know what they look like. I’ll bet I’m not the only one. If someone is late to a meeting with you, it may be that they couldn’t recognize you from your LinkedIn profile. Again, an easy fix, or seriously, get a professional portrait done. If you live in the Bay Area, my wife is an awesome photographer and can do your pic for you. Just email me and we’ll set something up for you.
- A practically empty bio. Please people. Maybe this should be a more blanket statement “Before you try to connect with anyone on LinkedIn, make your profile as complete as possible” Yes, that means spending time getting a great photo done, completing all of your job history, all of your education, everything you do, then working backwards to write yourself a killer bio.
- Your title is “Sales” or “Business Development”. I know why you’re connecting with me, dude. You want to sell me something. I get that. And I don’t blanket not connect with you just because you’re in sales. It really depends on your whole picture, your whole bio, everything that you represent. If you’ve don’e something cool in your past or currently, I’ll connect with you. But don’t just try and pitch me right away. Build the relationship first. Then, maybe, if you’re stuff if great, I’ll buy from you and or refer you to someone else. But you have to have more than a one line bio and a title and no picture.
- For a bonus point: put your email address at the bottom of your bio. It makes it easier for me to ask you why you are interested in connecting with me BEFORE I do it.
So think before you connect:
- Does my pic look awesome? Would someone recognize me from it?
- Is my bio the best it can be?
- Is my profile complete?
- Is my email address in my bio?
- And finally : put yourself in my shoes, if you were me, would I connect with you?