8 Mistakes Not to Make on LinkedIn

mistakes not to make on linkedinWhat do you do with your LinkedIn profile?

Do you check it only every once in a while when a connection request comes through? Have you linked it to your Twitter account? Did you never quite remember to sign up in the first place?

As much as it's convenient to merge our Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram accounts into one large social networking experience, LinkedIn has a special designation: professional networking.

And there is a difference between professional and personal networking, according to LinkedIn Career Expert Nicole Williams: "I see the same mistakes over and over!"

And, on LinkedIn, those faux pas can damage your career.

In fact, data shows that LinkedIn is especially helpful when it comes to landing higher-paying jobs—"informal recruitment" is a favorite of hiring managers aiming to fill positions up there on the payscale.

So whether you're hunting for a new job, making the most of the one you have or just looking to learn about professional possibilities, avoid these eight big LinkedIn mistakes.

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  • Sharon

    A big point you missed: having TOO much information on your LinkedIn. If I see someone who lists every single tiny job, every tiny course, links to their Twitter, etc., I think they have too much time on their hands.

    • Robert H. Woodman

      A person who gives me “information overload” on LinkedIn comes across as desperate.

  • LVSquared

    Another biggie – “linking” with those who you would back if it came down to it.  I feel uncomfortable with some of the requests I’ve received because I DO know their work ethic.  Plus, I only want people who can clearly speak to my skills and back me up, if needed. Thank for the tips!

  • janet

    “I see older people who are worried about age discrimination use a photo of themselves in their 30s…”

    “HSN Beauty found that, when paging through LinkedIn profiles, 19% of recruiters look only at your profile picture.”

    See any correlation there? Only looking at profile pictures is an easy way to weed out whatever you don’t feel is desirable (i.e. discrimination). I don’t understand why a recruiter would base anything on looks except for that very reason.

     I do have a profile picture but I’m a 50-something, not-very-photogenic woman. Does that hurt my chances? I’m quite sure it does. Honestly, I’ve had a profile on LinkedIn since it started and it’s done nothing for me. I had to laugh when one of my contacts posted recently “Someone remind me why were here anyway.” Spot on.

    • FranboNZ

      HI Janet – felt compelled to reply although your comment was made a year ago. Being a 50-something ‘not very photogenic woman’ does not hurt your chances of being noticed or contacted by a recruiter (and I am a recruiter so I can speak from experience). Using a photo which makes you look worse than you might normally appear (or having no photo at all) is not wise but it’s not the death knell either. It’s actually the quality of the information on your profile which is the main draw card for a recruiter. So, firstly, check your profile and update the information and make sure it’s concise, targeted and professional. If you worry about not being ‘photogenic’ then use a professional photographer and get a good set of photos. Not only will it present you in the best possible light for the purposes of professional networking, it will also have the added benefit of making YOU feel good about yourself. Good luck!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mt.thomas.9 Mt Thomas

    Ironic that there’s no “Share” button for LinkedIn for this article.

  • Laura Allen

    Lucy Learn Vest, You just reinforced what I think of LinkedIn. Although I am the hardest, most dedicated worker who does circles around a lot of the 20 & 30 year old women who have had everything handed to them.The person who you bonded with being a new Mom isn’t the person whose going to fill in for you when you need the time off for your baby being sick or little league when they are old enough. I am. I have worked since I was 15 and was hit by a drunk driver 15 minutes from work ending my career as a Flight Attendant. I have always worked for the Mothers who needed time off at every job but when it came down to me needing that same favor they aren’t giving up their time for you. LinkedIn seems to be a big 20 to 30′s way to get an “in” whether they qualify or not and socializing with HR isn’t anything new. Lets see when both Moms that bonded need the same time off for babies graduation etc.I wonder who will end up working that day. So you just advertised that you discriminated against someone who may not have been able to have children or like myself went threw fertility treatments. How would you like it if it was still all white males and they were still hiring all white males? Or you didn’t get the job because you didn’t bond over the fertility treatments and now the triplets I carried. I have been told by every company I ever worked for that I NEVER have complained until now when I need a job and due to my age I cant get one.I am the hardest worker they have had. I stay late come in early and if needed to come in on my day off and work for other people like you when there baby got sick. Its the other Mothers who wouldn’t give up anything. I always came in with a smile on my face and grateful to have a paycheck with my name on it knowing I did the BEST job I could. I have a great sense of humor and know a lot about the new bands and new technology of today since I sang and played guitar in rock bands professionally too. .

    • welcometoreality

      you’re too soft. you know what we call people like you in life? suckers. you push yourself harder than others when not needed to, help others at the cost of your own well-being. it’s your own fault for not taking advantage of other people and using it to your benefit. people will walk all over you. that is reality.

      • Robert H. Woodman

        That’s a rather cynical point of view. There was a time when a strong work ethic was valued in this country and considered a virtue.

  • Robert H. Woodman

    Lucy LearnVest, there is a problem in the statistic you cite that “19% of recruiters look only at your profile picture.”

    There is a wealth of information in peer-reviewed academic literature about age, race, gender, and other types of discrimination (for example, against overweight people). This statistic makes me view LinkedIn as a potential tool for recruiters to carry on that sort of discrimination on the sly. It certainly doesn’t fill me with confidence about LinkedIn as a way to market myself.

    Moreover, if you’ve probed any of the employment/career-development groups on LinkedIn or checked any recent employment statistics, you should be aware that there appears to be a subtle, but very real, bias against older employees. And with SCOTUS recently having made it harder to prove age discrimination in the workplace, I have little doubt that employers will continue to push the boundaries of the law in age discrimination.

    Have you considered addressing this in the context of LinkedIn?

    • Roofguru

      I don’t entirely believe what you are saying about age discrimination. I have an unusual set of talents that restrict me to one of probably less than 1,000 people in the entire US. I am an expert witness also. People WANT to see your maturity, and the implied strength of your time in grade. Experience trumps a lot of things, and it is not delegated. You must be there. If you’re 68 like I am, you still do a fair amount of work, and can pick and choose. Age=Maturity=Good Pay for some folks.
      I would hire a mature 60 year old in a heartbeat if they had the experience I feel was required for the position. They are easier to deal with, happy to have the benefits, don’t fool around, normally arrive daily on time, sober, etc. Don’t have to take the kids to the dentist, etc. etc.

      • Robert H. Woodman

        Respectfully, I disagree with you. Your argument is an example of the logical fallacy known as “generalizing from the specific.” That is, you posit that because something works for you in a particular way (a specific) it must work for everyone in that same way (a generality). It is a common logical fallacy, but it is still a fallacy.

        I would encourage you to look beyond your own experiences and look at the statistics of who is getting hired and who is not getting hired. Moreover, don’t just look at the official numbers of employment and unemployment. The government also keeps track of who has gotten so discouraged that he or she has dropped out of the job market altogether. Take a look at those numbers also. What you will find when you consider all of the numbers as a whole is a pattern that looks similar to the pattern one would expect if older workers are being selectively shut out of the job market.

        I can think of several reasons why this may be happening, but the point is that it does appear to be happening at this time. Your own experience is different, but your own experience is contrary to the larger trend that exists.

        • Roofguru

          Well Robert, at least you said “Respectfully”. I have reviewed and fully understand the statistics. Regrettably corporate America has figured out that more can be done for less and has either eliminated many jobs because of perceived efficiencies, outsourcing, off-shoring, or simply downsized because they haven’t pulled out of the recession as quickly as some. With the government trying to take control of every day life of Americans, they have become the de facto perpetrators of reduction of the Non-Governmental workforce, while increasing the Government personnel requirements.
          In my comments I wasn’t ill advised, ignorant, nor uninformed. I was making a point for others to consider when reviewing the overall responses, not cheering for the middle of the road, but looking at alternatives for those who may be discouraged, aged out of the system, or simply lack the enthusiasm due to their peers reprehensible treatment. Looking after the dime has not worked for many, and are bringing back jobs to the USA. I applaud this move.
          The Big Gorilla in the room however, is what do we do with the Military personnel when we downsize their “jobs” overseas. When the military pulls out, we have a major problem of 15-20% who are unemployable due to having no domestic skills. Another 10-15% are suffering from PTSD, if they aren’t already here. Some will retire probably 35-40%. So, you still have 25% who will be actively seeking positions that probably do not exist. There are only so many McDonalds.
          Yes, there is a pattern here of workers losing their jobs, and we are losing talent of many people when this happens. Adding in the Military poses additional problems, and just wait until Obama decides to give amnesty to 25-30 Million people who are here illegally, and many more who will emigrate as well. There are only so many menial jobs left, and most of the emigrants do not have the necessary talents to compete.
          These two game changers will definitely play havoc with your patterns and trending for employment.
          God Help Us All, thanks to our current Chief.

          • Robert H. Woodman

            I always make an effort to be respectful, especially with people I don’t know.

            I understand your points in response, and I understand that you were encouraging people who might feel discouraged due to perceived discrimination; however, you have not yet addressed the points I raised in my original comment, namely, that (1) there is quite a bit of evidence that job recruiters discriminate and (2) the fact that “19 percent of job recruiters look only at profile pictures” is a troubling statistic as it strongly indicates recruitment bias.

            Bringing back jobs to the United States and dealing with the large wave of U.S. military personnel who need to re-enter the workforce are both important points to discuss, but they miss the point of using LinkedIn as a tool to find jobs/recruit job seekers, which is the point of the O.P.

  • http://www.olivialarosa.com/ Olivia LaRosa

    I write a lot: politics, sociology, financial policy. Should I be putting links to my many articles on LinkedIn? Please excuse the kid picture. Some of my friends are waxing nostalgic these days.

    • Roofguru

      I hate it when people use their professional forum in an unadvisable manner. I do not want your nostalgia, your kids, your husband, and people out mowing their lawn, or have a gag photo of them at a party, etc. There may be something that this information can be directed to on Facebook, or …..
      I am seriously off-put whenever I see anything less than a professional photograph, and one that is no more than 3 years old.
      Most people these days have Smart Phones. Take a selfie at work, and post it.

      • http://www.olivialarosa.com/ Olivia LaRosa

        I didn’t ask whether you wanted pictures of my barbecue. I asked whether posting learned commentary would be appropriate. I have a professional picture on my LinkedIn profile already.

      • http://computaal.nl/ Guido Makor

        She did say: “Please excuse the kid picture”, didn’t she?

    • http://computaal.nl/ Guido Makor

      Hi Olivia, I do think you should post links to your articles. However, they should be relevant to the job you have or are looking for. Also, don’t overdo it! I would suggest to post two to three links to articles relevant to each job you have included in your profile.

    • Robert H. Woodman

      Olivia, yes, you should. I agree with Guido Makor that you should post relevant links, not every link.

  • http://systemwun.com/angelaforeman Angela Foreman

    Great article but even better Comments thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts comments have a wonderful day!

  • Bill Walters Visual Arts

    From a fashion photographer’s point of view who makes contacts with MUA, Hair and Fashion stylists please make sure a link to your portfolio is in your contact info and please make sure it WORKS!! There is nothing more unprofessional as clicking thru a link to get nothing, or an error splash page.