We’ve all seen them: The LinkedIn profiles that make us cringe.
LinkedIn’s mission is to “connect the world’s professionals to enable them to be more productive and successful." Sorry folks, but this means solo cup pictures and baby photos are not appropriate for this social media site. What might be cute on Facebook just doesn’t cut it in the corporate world. In fact, the following digital mistakes could seriously injure your chances of landing the job you want.
A great rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t put it on a resume, or say it in an interview, then it’s probably not for LinkedIn either.
So take a look at the gallery (below) for 9 LinkedIn mistakes you shouldn't be making. Then, if needed, give your account a professional update to increase your chances of catching a recruiter's eye or of making an impression on the right employer. (Then, check out our slideshow of 13 tips that'll transform you into a LinkedIn pro.)
Did we leave any tips out? Let us know if you have other general LinkedIn rules in the comments section.
It's good to connect social media sites to LinkedIn... except when it's not. If your Tweets and Facebook updates don't often reflect a professional manner, it's best to leave them detached from this networking site. "aT the baR till 4AM!!!" doesn't give off the best impression for prospective employers. On the other hand, if you maintain a relatively professional attitude with social media, link it up! The more relevant updates, the better.
Harassing Other Users
Reaching out to recruiters can be done, but in a respectful way. Asking directly for an email or the phone number of an employer is usually not considered a classy move. Most won't have time to review your resume, so if you approach a recruiter have a specific question about a position without begging for information. Keep in mind some recruiters are more responsive than others, and it's always best if you reach out to contacts with shared connections.
Posting Inappropriate Photos
That tiny profile picture on LinkedIn is your <em>one shot</em> at leaving a visual impression -- so make it a good one. Don't include other people in your photo, and remember to remain professional. Keep the cleavage and shirtless pics on your Facebook account (if you must). Stacy Donovan Zapar, one of the most followed women on LinkedIn, has some great <a href="http://www.stacyzapar.com/2011/06/oh-no-they-didnt-linkedin-avatars-gone.html" target="_hplink">tips on what to avoid </a>when selecting a shot.
Connecting With Anyone And Everyone
The primary point of LinkedIn is to "connect" with others in your field of work. But be careful with your connections: Do you know them personally? Did you do business together? Are they involved in your industry? Remember, LinkedIn is not Facebook and should not be treated as such. Also, check out <a href="http://inmaps.linkedinlabs.com/network" target="_hplink">InMaps</a>, LinkedIn's visual guide to how your connections span. Do most of your connections fall within a few certain categories, or are you too spread out?
Falling Back On Overused Words
When describing your past positions and abilities, refrain from using the same words as everyone else. The top five most commonly used phrases on LinkedIn are: creative, organizational, effective, extensive experience, and track record. "Competition for opportunities can be fierce, so craft your LinkedIn Profile and resume to stand out from the professional pack," said <a href="http://press.linkedin.com/node/1051" target="_hplink">Nicole Williams, LinkedIn's Connection Director</a>.
You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours, right? While this methodology works occasionally, beware of your profile looking insincere. If all of your recommendations come from people whom you've also endorsed, recruiters may believe you and your friends are simply swapping praise. Don't be afraid to reach out to former employers via LinkedIn and request a recommendation that counts.
Neglecting Profiles And Updates
An updated, well-crafted profile is key when trying to appeal to recruiters. Not only should your previous work experience be listed in an organized manner, but your current position should also be included. Companies don't want to guess where you work, so don't leave them wondering. Adding projects or professionally updating your status is another way to stay relevant.
LinkedIn "groups" were created to benefit the user, so stay social and participate in applicable forums. Search for groups in your field of work and in your general location for the most targeted results. Also, be aware of recruiters that may reach out to specific forums and partake in the general group discussion.
Leaving Out Your Real Name
Use your real name in your profile's "name" field, not your email. While you might think adding an email will make you more accessible, it typically throws off LinkedIn's search option. It also <a href="http://www.michaelreynolds.com/marketing/tighten-up-your-linkedin-display-name-or-else/" target="_hplink">violates the User Agreement.</a> Your name is what people will most likely search, so use it.