LinkedIn has changed the way we network for work like Facebook changed the way we interact socially. However, a lot of people can confuse the two social media platforms and can easily make rookie errors on their LinkedIn profiles, including what they post on their feed. Whether you are new to LinkedIn or have had a profile for a long time, make sure you avoid common mistakes after you read our list on what not to do on LinkedIn!
15 examples of what not to do on LinkedIn if you’re looking for a job
You might feel like your profile is up to date and flawless. But there are a lot of things many of us, or people you know, often forget to keep in order, whether this is a passive or intentional action!
1. Using the wrong photo for your profile picture
LinkedIn is designed to let you network with people in a professional capacity. And it’s all about first impressions. Having your Facebook photo as your profile pic where you’ve got a Long Island Ice Tea in a club isn’t a good look. Make sure your photo looks professional and business-like. And if you have any risque pics that you wouldn’t want your parents to see, keep them out of your uploads as well!
2. Ignoring LinkedIn messages
You’ve set up LinkedIn to stay connected to possible business opportunities. And staying on top of your inbox is part and parcel of this. Ignoring Linkedin messages is a big professional red flag and can ruin future opportunities with that company or person. Definitely something to avoid when considering what not to do on LinkedIn!
3. Asking strangers for referrals or recommendations
We understand someone might want to boost their profile. But it’s bad etiquette to approach someone you don’t know and ask them for a recommendation! If you put yourself in their shoes, would you give someone you’ve never met or spoken to a recommendation because they seem like a nice person?
4. Not turning off activity broadcasts
Having a LinkedIn profile is really useful when looking for new connections or opportunities. But just remember to turn off your activity broadcasts in case your boss sees your feed. This can make for an awkward conversation the next morning.
5. Asking someone you don’t know to endorse skills
Similar to the third point, this is another example of what not to do on LinkedIn if you want to maintain good relationships. Unless you know that person very well, don’t ask for an endorsement after just adding them.
6. Skipping mutual introductions
If there’s someone you’d like to add as a connection and there’s a mutual connection, don’t send an Inmail. After all, that’s what the introduction is for. Use that existing connection to start off on the right foot with a good word, rather than a cold call.
7. Using your email contact list
If you are just starting up a LinkedIn profile, they will ask if you’d like to send an invite to all your contacts. This is a bad idea if it’s an email address you’ve used personally in the past since you’ll send invites to friends from high school, or someone you bought a car from.
8. Accidental stalking
While there are many similarities between Facebook and LinkedIn, browsing mindlessly isn’t one of them! As anyone who’s just surfed on Facebook for hours can attest to, it’s so easy to accidentally to do something you didn’t mean to. And on LinkedIn, people can easily see your activity. Even checking someone’s profile sends them a notification that someone checked them out! This is advantageous for possible new opportunities.
There is an option in the settings to disable these notifications. But the downside is you won’t see if anyone looks at your profile, meaning you could miss out on potentially fruitful connections.
9. Providing too much information
On your profile, keep the information to the bare minimum and necessary with the primary aim being to show off your professional career. Your favourite colour? Or pics of your dog? It’s really not relevant!
You don’t need to put your age or any personal information there. After all, people will be headhunting you for your skills and what you could offer to their company.
10. Being critical of someone, an organisation or a group
Many of us may have a bad work experience. But there is a time and a place to vent about how unfairly we were treated or what we truly think about our old manager or company. There is never a time nor place on LinkedIn to do that! When you post something, no matter how small, that disparages and paints someone else in a bad light, it reflects poorly on you. For example, a potential manager was going to hire someone with the right skills and experience for a role until they read on their profile the following description of their previous company:
“I want to work for a company that is ethical, unlike Acme Systems which was run by semi-criminals and now is being sued by its investors.
At Acme Systems I learned that just because someone has an Ivy League MBA doesn’t mean they are smart.
Now I am in search of my next opportunity, after escaping from a toxic work environment run by scammers and thieves”.
No matter how tempting it is, don’t do it!
11. Going off on a political or religious rant.
Similar to the above point, people are only interested in your experience and skills. Having a rant about what you think someone else’s religion or the latest policy changes actually make you look highly unprofessional.
12. Promoting yourself or your products
LinkedIn can be a place for the odd humblebrag. But a huge red flag on what not to do on LinkedIn is to straight up promote yourself or the products you’ve worked on previously. Your connections are looking for what value you bring. And bigging yourself up doesn’t really prove your point.
13. Not double check for spelling and grammatical errors
As obvious as it sounds, a lot of people neglect to do a thorough check of their LinkedIn profile. This might be because of the amount of detail you need to keep updated. But just like at work, an error, no matter how small, makes you look unprofessional. You can install grammar checking extensions in your browser, or compose your profile in a word processor first to avoid this.
14. Posting information from your current or previous employer
Even if you don’t work for them anymore, posting proprietary information isn’t advised! This includes spreadsheets, sales figures or any other confidential information. Unless you have express permission to do so, which is highly unlikely, stay away from uploading any content of this type.
15. Not fully completing your profile
It might be daunting when you first start completing your profile. It’s a lot of information and requires you to post your education and work history to date. But giving up before you’ve begun is a bad start, as you’ll still be visible but with nothing on your profile, it looks like you don’t take the social media platform seriously!
Have a copy of your recent CV open to ease inputting data. That way, your profile will match the information on your CV.
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