Knowledge centre

10 LinkedIn mistakes to avoid

In this blog, we list the top ten mistakes to avoid, with a little help and a few examples from members of the Harrier team.

When Gina Rinehart, Chairperson of Hancock Prospecting Group and Australia’s wealthiest woman, sends you a LinkedIn invite, you accept right?

Not so fast.

On LinkedIn, not everyone can be taken at face value.

Linkedin Mistakes to Avoid

Further investigation quickly illustrates that this invitation is from some unknown person trying to leverage Ms Rinehart’s name – and probably for less than honourable reasons. The clues are obvious in this case: a bio lifted from Wikipedia, spelling errors and a complete focus on charitable work, leading one to guess that once you accept the invite to connect, you will be asked to ‘donate’.

Whilst this example is not really a mistake to avoid on LinkedIn per se, it points to some of the more dubious behaviours we see across our networks.

In this blog, we list the top ten mistakes to avoid, with a little help and a few examples from members of the Harrier team.

 1.      Bulk in-mail survey requests

“What irks me about LinkedIn is when a contact sends out a bulk in-mail requesting people to complete a survey about their work performance”, says Bronwen. “It’s most irritating when it comes from someone that you have not worked with or someone that you are not that familiar with. It shows a complete lack of respect for connections and shows that the person sending the email has clearly not looked through the list of recipients to see who is actually relevant.”

2.      Bulk in-mail season’s greetings

Whilst the intent may be honourable, bulk greetings cards are quite impersonal and even worse when they come from someone who you do not know that well.

3.     Poor use of grammar and the English language

Poor spelling and grammar sets a bad example, especially for the first communication.

Take the time to read a profile, then proof read the message you send as an approach just to ensure that you have positioned yourself professionally. And don’t forget to spell check!

 4.     Connecting for friendship or more 

LinkedIn is not a place to make friends or use as a dating site. Katrina said the below contact that landed in her inbox “made no reference to my role or organisation so I was left wondering what his intentions were.”

Linkedin Mistakes to Avoid 3

Alison had recently left an HR role with a large industrial engineering and construction company when she received a connection invitation from a Civil Engineer, based in the UK. She said, “I decided to accept his invitation as, if I found myself back in the industry again, he would be a candidate of interest.

“A few days later I received two identical email messages from this person. The first had my email address included in the cc line along with about 15 other addresses. The second email was just addressed to me (no cc) and was the same message content as the first. His email was personal – professing he was a single man looking for a relationship. I responded to him and advised that I considered his communication inappropriate and that LinkedIn was not a portal for singles ‘looking for love’”.

“I then noted the first email was sent to all females. I hit ‘reply all’, deleted his address and made contact with these ladies asking for their feedback on his communication to us. The response was what I expected, with all agreeing that this was totally inappropriate. We all agreed to contact LinkedIn and report him.

“The communication by LinkedIn was fantastic. They commenced an investigation and kept us informed of the progress, finally advising that this person had now been barred from LinkedIn and any future membership would be disallowed.”

5.      Rude/ abusive behaviour

Corina from one of our onsite client teams in Perth said, “A candidate that I had just connected with started popping up on my newsfeed quite regularly with abusive comments to recruiters. The most notable time happened under an update that a recruiter had posted regarding a role they were working on: They wrote instructions on how to apply, the candidate ignored the instructions and invited them to look at his profile on LinkedIn but later, sent abusive messages about the recruiter for not recruiting him. If the candidate was not satisfied with the recruiter’s approach, a private message would have been a better way to approach this. This is not a smart move – it’s like standing in the street and shouting abuse – everyone can hear you and you don’t know who is listening!”

6.      Poorly chosen photos

Think about your profile photo – is it professional and work related? One of our team leads in Melbourne says, “It’s not Facebook so don’t put photos of your wedding day on LinkedIn, or your hen’s night, or a beach shot, all of which I’ve seen!” Her advice for photos is:

  • Wear smart casual attire
  • Have no mess around you – keep it plain and simple
  • Smile
  • Don’t wear too much make up, big earrings or piercings and make sure your hair is out of your face
  • Chose a photo where you’re alone – don’t be tempted to awkwardly crop others out
  • Make sure there’s nothing offensive or inappropriate in the

7.     Carelessly chosen connections and articles
What articles are you sharing or posting on LinkedIn? Are they relevant to your profession or the type of people you are trying to connect with, or is it potentially offensive or opposite thinking to those you are trying to attract? Again, remember its LinkedIn, not Facebook!

Who are you connected with? If there are people that you are connected with that you find offensive or do not match your professional or personal values, think about the consequences of that connection and whether the potential outweighs these.

 8.     Serial posters

Don’t overdo it and be that person – the serial LinkedIn poster. Constantly updating with news or other posts several times a day can be annoying and look desperate.

 9.     Requesting recommendations from, or providing endorsements for, people you’ve never met

Jody considers the ultimate LinkedIn ‘no no’ to be asking for a recommendation from someone you’ve never met: “It’s happened on a few occasions: I’ve been asked to connect with people I don’t know and when I have done so, I am asked if I could write a recommendation for the individual. On another occasion I’ve even been asked if I could provide my list of contacts so that they could email my networks!”

“I still can’t fathom how people feel these requests were in any way appropriate. I took the time to respond to each of these requests. When I pointed out that I could not make a recommendation for someone I did not