10 Costly LinkedIn Mistakes Users Make


LinkedIn Mistakes
LinkedIn now has more than 200 Million users worldwide!   The professional networking site is a rich resource for recruiters and marketers who are just beginning to discover the potential of this site.  Many people though misunderstood LinkedIn to be just another social media platform and are using it carelessly by making many costly mistakes.  These LinkedIn mistakes have the potential to damage the perception of your brand/business and reduces the chances of others wanting to work with you in the future.

The good news is that these costly mistakes can be easily avoided and fixed. It is my intention to highlight these common mistakes so you can start using LinkedIn effectively.

These common LinkedIn mistakes that people make can by neatly grouped into 3 categories.

1 – Not Displaying Authenticity

LinkedIn MistakesNo Profile Photo

When online, professionals want to know who they are dealing with.  Not using a profile picture can make you appear anonymous, which gives the impression that you are hiding something. If you are serious about building business relationships, be comfortable showing who you are. In fact go ahead and show yourself as confident and approachable

LinkedIn MistakesNot Looking Like Your Profile Picture

Many people get studio photos done for their profile, which can give the sense that you are serious about the impression you want to make. However, make sure that you don’t go overboard with the photo shoot so as to still be recognizable as you in real life.  Worse case scenario would be that you met with a potential business contact, only for them to not find you on LinkedIn as they didn’t recognize your profile picture when they searched for you.  Just be real!

LinkedIn MistakesPosting Photos Of Cute Babies & Pets

This is a BIG no-no!  Potential business partners want to connect with you, not your family or pet.  They want to see someone who is professional and ready for business. LinkedIn is a professional network, so make sure to save the baby photos for Instagram or Facebook instead.  Afterall, you wouldn’t include them if you were sending out a CV or Resume would you?

Having Anonymous Endorsements

Having too many LinkedIn endorsements from people with no profile picture, can be worse than not having any endorsements at all! This seems to indicate that your contacts, or people who can testify of your services, are themselves not comfortable showing who they are (or maybe they have nothing to show and are not confident of themselves).

The best endorsements that you can get (and show) are from people with an active, well maintained LinkedIn profile.  Business clients and potential employers are going to look at who is endorsing you, as they will give a better indication of you.  Make sure that they are good ones.

2 – Not Making A Good First Impression

Incomplete Profile

Lacking a complete write up on your profile summary, experience or work section can look bad. An empty profile creates a negative first impression to anyone that may be viewing you. First of all you give no reason for other professionals to want to connect with you. And secondly it shows the lack of care and attention you give to your own online professional image. Spend time drafting and refining your profile before you show it to the public and of course keep it up to date.

Complete Profile, But Very Vague

Long paragraphs of vague descriptions on your profile summary, jobs and experience does not allow others to see where your expertise is or what results you have accomplished. Where possible use quantifiable results with a timeline or show actual achievements by linking to a white paper, a certificate or some slide presentations.  Any way that you can back up what you are claiming on your profile is good to include.

You’re Being Too Personal

Status Updates that are too personal are frowned upon on LinkedIn. By all means, post about trends, upcoming events, a book you just read or published, an interview where you were just featured, etc. but no one is interested in the TV show you watched the night before. If you have nothing useful or informative to post, you can share other people’s content. 

3 – Not Showing Sincerity 

Not Making An Effort When Connecting

Try not to use the default text provided by LinkedIn when inviting others to connect. Do a little homework on the person you want to reach out to and remind them where you have met or why you want to make the connection.  Care enough to reach out personally.  It will make a better first impression if you do!

Pitching All The Time

Talking about your offer and pitching the moment connections are made. All this does is show that you are not interested in building a relationship with someone, but are only here to pitch your sales.  You may argue that that is the main reason why you are on LinkedIn, but be prepared to be removed from people’s contact lists if you are doing this.  It’s just like cold calling, people don’t like it.

Similarly, some HR recruiters go around asking new LinkedIn contacts to apply for jobs (that they may not be interested in). This is just to boost their own application numbers, so when they go to their boss, they can say that they got X amount of people to apply.  Often, these people won’t even include details of the job that they want you to apply too. LinkedIn is a place to network, not spam. Recruiters who do this are not only hurting themselves but the image of the brand they represent.

No Communication

Not responding to queries and messages sent from your contacts can put you in a very bad light. You kill the potential for any real business relationship this way, as they will be less likely to get in touch with you again. It’s absolutely pointless getting onto LinkedIn if you have no intention to build meaningful relationships with people.  Start as you mean to go on.

If you are doing any of the above, you need to stop before you destroy your image or any potential business opportunity. Take time and care to build high quality business relationships online, it is not a numbers game.  Spamming is never welcomed, whether you are on LinkedIn or not, so just don’t do it.

It is my hope that these common mistakes be avoided so real connection can be made for future partnerships and collaborations.

Are you guilty of any of these LinkedIn mistakes?  What other mistakes have you seen people making on LinkedIn?  Please let us know by leaving a comment below!

About Louisa Chan

Louisa helps professionals worldwide set up and grow their businesses using digital and social media marketing. She is an online business coach and trainer who has worked with multi-national corporations as well as solo-preneurs. Visit Louisa's website at LouisaChan.com for more information. You can learn more by following her on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

  • Couldn’t agree more – its so sad when I see people on LinkedIn pitching for crappy MLM scams. There is no place for it at all, but what sort of conversions are they getting in there?

    Nice post.

    • I don’t know really. I guess it depends on how many spammy messages they are sending out to contacts. Whenever I get one sent to me though, it goes straight into the bin.

  • Hi John,

    Ii is sad. But scammers uses every channel they know to get what they want – except in this case, the will get much attention!

    • Thanks again for this excellent post Louisa! 🙂

      • My pleasure Matt! You have a nice community here 🙂

        • Thanks Louisa! Taken a lot of hard work to build it up to what it is at the moment. Helps when quality posts like yours get published 🙂

  • Hasan

    Nice pointing. Thanks!
    My linkedIn profile is good 🙂 Happy.

  • Nice post 🙂
    I don’t use LinkedIn for promotion, but once I start using, I’ll try to avoid these mistakes 😀

    • Hi Akhil,

      No worries, When it’s time to make some connections you’ll know what to do (just do the exact opposite of the “Nots”)!

      • Kapil Jekishan

        Nice one Louisa – being in financial services, we leverage LinkedIn a fair bit whether it be for connecting with individuals from a particular industry or reaching out for introductions. These are all integral points you’ve listed – especially the ‘dodgy’ endorsements 🙂

  • Catherine Holt

    I must admit I don’t really use my Linked In Profile as much as I probably should. I struggle with knowing how to use it to its full advantage, seeing as it does seem to have a CV like stance. I want to use it for my blog work, (not my professional career), so I have been struggling with working out a balance of how to do this without it looking like spam. I need to work at it a bit more I think!

    • Catherine,

      No worries, here are a few things you can do:

      1 – You can link your blog address at your LinkedIn profile. You can also put a LinkedIn badge on your site so they drive traffic to each others.

      2 – You can add in links to your blog at the “experience” and “summary” section. This is to show case your domain knoweldge and will not be seen as soamming

      3 – Go to the “LinkedIn” category at my website and look through the videso and free reports – they will show you step by step how to set up and optimized your Linkedin account

      If you need anything else just gvie a shout


      • LinkedIn groups are another way that people can connect with potential customers/readers. LinkedIn has been a consistently good source of traffic for me.

  • Clair Trebes

    This is a good post, really enjoying seeing what people are posting about LinkedIn lately – general consensus around a lot of people I know is that they struggle with grasping it’s concept – whilst a Social site, it really is viewed “for business” its’ not hard to really get head around it, but as a whole I think people have a lot still to learn about this great platform!

    Each of the points in here, are VERY good starting points for people using the site – 100% sharing this now!


    • Great!

    • Cheers for sharing Clair!

      I think LinkedIn are having a bit of an identity crisis at the moment. Many people struggle to come to grips with what it’s for (outside of CV related stuff). They tried to make things a bit more social with the addition of endorsements, but I know many people didn’t like that addition.

      Will be interesting to see what future updates they will make in the future.

  • Vatsala Shukla

    I honestly never thought of about the anonymous endorsement aspect! I do agree that connecting with photo-less professionals is dicey, unless you actually know them professionally and are not following the numbers game. I had written a blog post a month back on my website post about 5 essential tips for presenting a good impression while job hunting on LinkedIn. I’m going to post your article on my FB Page as a follow-up full of important networking tips.

    • Hi Vatsala,

      I think many people, especially when they first get on LinkedIn, are guilty of connecting with people to boost their numbers. It may be harmless on the face of it, but it could back fire if your not careful.

      Your welcome to share this on your Facebook page.

    • Hi Vatsala,

      Endorsement on LinkedIn is tricky. Sometimes people you hardly know will endorse you and if these are hhoto-less professionals then the endorsement won’t carry much weight and may cause more harm!

  • JeanSC

    I don’t have a photo of myself posted and do not plan to. The conversations aren’t about what I look like, and I’ve read there can be a security risk with photos of oneself online.

    I had an unhappy experience with endorsements a while back. I tried to endorse an acquaintance for certain skills I know 100% I know he has, but wasn’t allowed to, because I’m not in one of LI’s approved groups.

    • Hi Jean,

      I agree, it’s not about what anyone should look like, but a picture does make someone more approachable online. Many people don’t trust or engage with profiles that don’t display an image. I think it’s the whole “putting a face to the name” issue.

      I understand your issues about security, I have the same worries, but at the end of the day people can’t really do much with just a photo. It’s not like it’s you;re uploading a passport photo, just a simple head shot that shows who you are.

      I’m a bit confused with your endorsement experience. You shouldn’t have to be in an approved group, as you are leaving an endorsement on their LinkedIn profile. Have left (and received) plenty myself and this has never happened. Very strange?!?!

  • MrPicky

    Want a mistake that could easily be avoided? Avoid misspelling. Especially in a subtitle. “Anonymous” is better than “Annonymous” above.
    If you want to turn off a possible employer, put in a typo. It hurts credibility.
    That said, good article with good advice.