Little Known Social Media Mistakes That Make You Look Bad on LinkedIn

by Kaitlan Whitteberry on June 3, 2016

In case you were wondering, yes the recruiter at your dream company is on LinkedIn. And yes, they’re looking at your profile probably before your resume even makes its way to the growing stack on their desk. LinkedIn and social media in general is the new resume, and you better be prepared to show your best self – or face the alternative, getting picked over by someone that did. Optimizing your profile doesn’t need to be complicated, LinkedIn should be easy to use, and helps make the recruitment process smoother for both parties. Here’s how to stop making mistakes on LinkedIn that are making you look bad.

1) Not Changing Your Profile URL

If there are a bunch of jumbled numbers and letters following your name in your URL – you’ve made mistake #1 on our list. Don’t worry, plenty of people miss this and there is an easy way to change this. Click on the settings wheel under your profile picture, to the right of your URL. You will be taken to another page. Click on the pencil icon under “Your Public Profile URL” towards the right side of the page. This will allow you to choose how your URL appears on your profile. It’s best to stick with something simple, such as your first and last name or if that is already taken with your middle initial in between. Steer clear of including anything about your industry or company, you never know when those might change.

2) Spelling and Grammatical Errors

This is a big one. Just like you’d double and triple check your resume for any mistakes before sending it on its merry way, you must do the same for your online profile. The best way to do this is to have someone else read your text. Sometimes the brain will automatically correct errors you wrote because it knows what you meant to say. A fresh pair of eyes won’t and is more likely to catch little errors you skim over.

Mistakes_On_LinkedIN_Look_Bad.jpg3) No Photo (or a Bad Photo)

Okay, so LinkedIn isn’t exactly a photography expo or anything, but you will show up more often in search results if you have a photo on your profile. What’s better though is having a professional photo, one that is approachable and shows personality.

Now, the key is to represent your best self. If you don’t work in a suit everyday, don’t wear a suit in your photo. If you are hoping to get into a top workplace, dress like you’d think their employees would dress. Again, be your best self, in the job you want. Make sure your background is clean, and preferably one color. White, soft blue or gray work well and don’t distract from the main attraction, you! Have someone else take your photo, preferably with a source of daylight and have them angle the camera slightly above your eye-line, which is the most flattering angle for most people.

4) Not Using Keywords

There are millions of profiles on LinkedIn, and considering there are probably hundreds of thousands in your specific job category alone – you’ve got to do something to stand out among the crowd. If you’re trying to get found for a job opening, or even just to make new work introductions, it’s imperative that you sprinkle keywords throughout your page. It definitely shouldn’t be distracting or obvious, but just be sure to include buzzwords from your industry where they fit naturally. Be sure to mention your current job title a few times, and the job you want if you’re in the market for something new.

Clearly you’re going to want to use facilities manager if you are one, but consider lesser known keywords too, like workplace manager or facilities leader to be sure you’re covering the entire spectrum of terms people tend to search with. It’s also important to avoid common “action” words that really don’t tell much of anything. For example, “motivated” or “hard-working” won’t give your reader a good understanding of why you feel you posses those qualities. Which brings us to our last point…

5) Telling but Not Showing

Words are great, but actions always make more of an impact. You can say all you want about how great you are at your job, but one example of your accomplishments is going to convince someone you actually practice what you preach. LinkedIn is first and foremost, a social media site. Which means it was designed as a collection point for its users to collaborate, share, discover and exchange information on varying topics. It’s not just there for people to connect and end the relationship there. Did you rock your last assignment? Share that achievement on your profile. Did your team recently land a new account? Share the case study on your work summary section (with permission from that company of course).

The more evidence you have to back up your claim, the more likely you’ll be to land an interview, or that call with a potential customer. You can add a range of documents including .PNG files, .JPEG files and .PDFs, entire PowerPoint presentations and many other types of files. Your chosen files can not exceed 15 MB, which should be plenty of room, but if it’s not stick to the highlights of what you’re trying to share. For more information on the types of files LinkedIn supports, visit their help page.

So there you have it, it takes a bit more effort to optimize your LinkedIn profile but you’ll see better results. Taking the time to take a quality, professional photo, and adding documents to your page show you’re serious about your career, which is a quality all potential employers will find valuable. 


Kaitlan Whitteberry

Kaitlan Whitteberry is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from the University of Missouri's journalism program, and currently focuses on iOFFICE press releases, software updates and related news.

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