The Cringey-est, Most Common LinkedIn Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

 
BRB, updating my LinkedIn bio...

BRB, updating my LinkedIn bio...

How to do the LinkedIn thing like a pro, without any of the awkward third-person talk.

We’ve all been there: Someone you’ve never met or heard of hits up your LinkedIn inbox, and with no explanation, asks you for a favor. You know they mean well, but it feels awkward. Chances are, though, you’ve done something equally awkward on the platform without realizing it. Such is the slippery nature of LinkedIn etiquette.

With so many people using the platform in entirely different ways, it’s hard to know exactly what to do in order to stand out. So let’s flip it and reverse it—what are the things you definitely shouldn’t do? Avoiding common LinkedIn faux pas will go a surprisingly long way when it comes to differentiating yourself in the eyes of an employer.

With that in mind, we give you: 6 of the most awkward LinkedIn mistakes you might be making. And don’t worry; we’ve all done ‘em at some point. LinkedIn is weird.

Never updating anything

Is your current job actually listed as your current job? Let's say a potential employer wants to check you out online. Of course, one of the first things they do is go to your LinkedIn profile. But what’s this?! It seems you’re currently a freshman undergrad, even though said employer knows that was like, 5 years ago. Make it easy for your dream boss by keeping your page fresh and updated with the latest information on the reg.

Not showing off your awesome personality

There’s a fine line between professional and perfectly boring when it comes to presenting yourself on LinkedIn. Like the double meaning of the word “refuse,” profiles can seem very similar on first glance, but on closer inspection, sometimes they turn out to be a total garbage fire. How to give your profile some added personality, while remaining super professional? Don’t write about yourself in the third person (it seems robotic AF,) give people a reason to keep reading, and don’t be afraid to share a little realness. Case in point: The headline in entrepreneur Cindy Gallop’s profile reads, “I like to blow shit up. I am the Michael Bay of business.” Iconic.

Straight up stalking

There’s a difference between strategic stalking and straight up stalking, and it goes like this: Do you want this person to know that you’ve seen their profile? If you answered “hell yes,” than view their profile in “public” mode and they’ll be notified that you’re checking them out. This is be a subtle way of showing people you’re interested in connecting further. The straight up stalking? Checking out the same person’s profile page again and again. Unless you’re browsing in “private” mode, they can see you. And that can come across as pushy and/or weird. Just remember the golden rule of all social media: Stalk responsibly.

Having a random picture (or none at all)

If there’s anything worse than displaying that sad blue thumbnail (used by LinkedIn when a user doesn’t upload a picture,) it’s displaying a really inappropriate picture that gives people the wrong impression about you. That picture of you doing five shots on vacation is probably awesome, and you should definitely share it on Facebook. But on LinkedIn, HR managers are going to want you looking chill, happy and most of all, trustworthy. Also, good lighting helps! It can be hard to catch that eager-to-work twinkle in your eye when your picture is all dark and gloomy.

Being a spam-bot

Once your profile’s looking killer, you’ll be tempted to go on a mass-requesting spree, adding everyone ever. That’s fine. But just remember, it’s quality, not quantity. Unlike Instagram, no one really cares how many LinkedIn connections you have. What’s more important is that you’re making meaningful connections with people who inspire you. The easiest way to do that? Personalize your requests, rather than sticking with the templated, auto-request text provided by the platform. A message like “It was great to meet you at yesterday’s conference. Looking forward to staying in touch,” will make the world of difference. Pro tip: Mobile devices don’t let you customize connection requests, so jump on your computer when going on a friend-spree.

Not checking for typos

Sometimes the most obvious stuff is the stuff we ignore. You might think “sucess” has one “c,” but think again, smarty pants. Avoid spelling mistakes by going over all your LinkedIn text in a separate document, before transferring it to your profile. It seems pedantic, but trust us, the irony of writing “detail-dirven” in your list of attributes will not be lost on a potential employer. Read everything at least twice—once for spelling and grammar and once for meaning—you might just save yourself a face palm down the line.

Words: Jerico Mandybur
Photo: 20th Century Fox