I don’t subscribe to Sports Illustrated For Kids. Know why? Because, though it was appealing to me at one point in my life, it no longer is. That is the same reason I’m not connecting with some of you “professionals” on LinkedIn. In 2015, if you don’t have a picture of yourself on your LinkedIn, I really may not know that I know you. I meet at least 50 new people a month between work, church, and networking events and I am horrible with names after just one meeting. But I’m great with faces. So, if I get a LinkedIn invitation from Jonathan Doe and he may be one of six Johns/Jons/Jonathans/Johnnys that I’ve met in the past three weeks, if I can’t place his face or match his profile to something in my memory bank, chance are I’ll do one of two things: let the connection invitation sit in my inbox until I do some research OR, if the profile is terribly put together, I’ll probably just decline.
Perfect example of why I’ll decline a sloppy profile: I got a connection request yesterday from someone whose name sounded familiar. Turns out he’s the father of a college classmate of mine, who happens to be his father’s namesake (explaining why I recognized the name). Now, had his profile been acceptable and were he in a field I was interested in, being that we had a mutual connection, I would have accepted him. But he had a logo as his profile picture (strike one) and he had the name of the company he worked for spelled wrong. Yes, we all make mistakes. But, at the top of your profile (essentially your online extended résumé), before I even scroll at all, to find two strikes means I don’t even want to connect on a professional level unless you are reaching out for some professional assistance as relates to your personal brand.
As a professional, you have to protect your brand. I cannot compromise mine by being connected with any and everyone in every setting. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are all platforms where I can be a bit more lax. But, if we’re talking about LinkedIn, let’s talk about shirts, ties, blouses, dresses, suits, proper spelling, etiquette, motivation, growth, etc. or let’s not talk at all.
Make professional development a priority.