8 embarrassing LinkedIn mistakes

LinkedIn can be a pretty awesome tool for networking, expanding your contacts, and even finding jobs, but it has its own unique etiquette land mines. Here are eight of the most common faux pas people make on LinkedIn – and how to make sure that you avoid them.

1. Sending generic connection requests. It was probably a mistake for LinkedIn to provide default text for the connection request emails sent through its system, because many people don’t bother to customize it. People who know you well might not mind receiving the default message, but if you’re trying to connect with someone who may not even remember you, it’s smarter to personalize the message and remind the person of how you know each other and why you’re asking to connect. Plus, even if the person does remember you, you’ll make a better impression and solidify the connection by writing something personalized.

2. Asking a contact who barely knows you to recommend you for a job. Recommending someone from a job is the equivalent of saying “I have direct experience with this person’s work and will put my own reputation on the line to vouch for it.” Obviously, that’s not the sort of thing that you have standing to ask of someone who barely knows you or your work. Plus, when you get a recommendation, you want it to be a glowing one, not a tepid “this person contacted me on LinkedIn.” Similarly…

3. Asking people who barely know you to write recommendations for your profile. Recommendations should speak with detail and nuance about your strengths. Asking someone who barely knows your work to write a recommendation for you puts the person in an awkward position, where they have to either shoulder the discomfort of turning you down or write something they can’t truly stand by. Making people uncomfortable is never a good networking strategy, and any resulting recommendation is likely to be vague and unhelpful.

4. Over-using the “endorsements” feature. LinkedIn now lets you “endorse” other people for specific skills, which has led to an epidemic of endorsements based on no actual knowledge of the endorsee’s skill set. Savvy users don’t want their profiles crowded with things they have no real expertise in, so use a light touch with this feature (or don’t use at all, since it doesn’t carry real weight with most people).

5. Using an unprofessional photo. You don’t need to pay a professional to take your photo, but it should be a professional-looking headshot. That means no beach photos and no strapless gowns. Additionally, your photo should just be of you, not you and your spouse or kids. Think of it this way: If you wouldn’t include information about your kids on your business card or resume (and indeed you should not), they don’t belong on your LinkedIn page.

6. Filling your summary with subjective self-assessments. Calling yourself a “visionary leader,” “charismatic communicator,” “exceptional marketer,” or other highly subjective self-assessments is likely to elicit eye rolls. If those things are true about you, it should be evidence from the accomplishments you list. Let others who know your work effusively praise you; it’s not something that you credibly do yourself.

7. Mistaking LinkedIn for a dating site. Most people are on LinkedIn to manage their professional contacts and careers, not to be sized up as potential dates. If you use the site to hit on other users, you will creep people out. You might assume that this doesn’t need to be said, but the legions of women who have received inappropriately flirtatious messages (or worse!) through the site can unfortunately report otherwise.

8. Inflating your experience. It’s bad enough to inflate your experience, skills, and accomplishments on your resume. But when you do it on LinkedIn, people who know the truth will see it! If your coworkers or former coworkers look at your profile and see you reporting accomplishments or responsibilities that they know you didn’t have much of a hand in, they will know that you’re lying. It will destroy your credibility, possibly get you gossiped about, and make people less likely to vouch for you in the future. Keep it truthful.

I originally published this at U.S. News & World Report.

{ 104 comments… read them below }

  1. Betsy Bobbins*

    I have some issues with LinkedIn. I find that I get all sorts of from people I know good and well did not endorse me for skills that are not even in my wheelhouse. I also had to shut my LI mobile app down for a period of time for connecting me to people I never reached out to or accepted as connections.

    1. OriginalYup*

      I was endorsed by someone I’ve never met or worked with, for something I don’t do. The endorsements carry no weight with me anyway, but that pretty much sealed my opinion on it.

      1. Anna*

        I’ve been fortunate that almost every endorsement I’ve received has been from people I know for things they have worked with me doing, but it’s still not something I put a lot of weight in to. I mostly think of it as, “Oh, that’s so cool! Bilbo thinks I’m good at X based on his experience from that project!”

      2. Not a Real Giraffe*

        You can turn off the endorsements, so that your connections aren’t asked “Is OriginalYup good at teapot design?” when they log in (which is why/how you get those odd endorsements).

      3. Crazy Dog Lady*

        I have a few family members who love the endorsement feature and endorse me weekly. It’s sweet, but misguided. :) I agree that they carry no weight, and I’ve never looked at them on anyone else’s profile.

        The inflation of experience is something that I’ve seen on my team, and it drives me nuts. We are very specific with titles, and a few people on my team who are junior to me inflate their titles to match mine. I’m not sure what they’re trying to accomplish by doing that, but it’s definitely not positive.

        1. Kelly L.*

          Lol, I’ve talked before about how my mom would endorse me for everything under the sun. No, Mom, I can’t perform brain surgery.

          1. the gold digger*

            One of my dad’s cousins, whom I may have met when I was little (there are probably about 90 of them – big Catholic families), with whom I have never worked, has endorsed me for things.

  2. Leah the designer*

    Another one, asking people who don’t know you to endorse you. I had a connection request from someone in my industry which I accepted, even though I didn’t know him I thought we may have crossed paths at a networking event. Generally I don’t accept those, but my industry is very niche, so I made an exception. The guy proceeded to endorse me for everything under the sun then asked me to do the same. It felt very bribery–I helped you now you must help me– and off putting.

    1. Kyrielle*

      Ugh. Yeah, I’d have removed the connection. I sympathized with him until you got to “asked me to do the same” – I get endorsements of skills from people who couldn’t know all the time. LinkedIn pops up a little block of “can you endorse X for Y?” things and people just hit ok on it a lot, I think. Terrible idea on LI’s part. :(

      But to endorse you and then ask for the reverse when you didn’t actually know each other? Ugh ugh ugh.

      1. HarryV*

        I deleted a connection only to get a request to add back the following day! Linkedin must’ve suggested the connection *slaps forehead*.

  3. regina phalange*

    I definitely had a guy who I went on ONE date with request a recommendation from me YEATS later. Not only did we never work together, he phased me out via text, so what exactly was he expecting me to say about him??

    1. FD*

      I had a guy I turned down for a date in college who kept looking at my LinkedIn page every two weeks…four or five years after I graduated! It was creepy and annoying because LinkedIn does those “People who viewed your profile”.

      Thankfully, LI now lets you block people from seeing your profile at all! He can still see it on anon but I don’t have to know about it.

      1. regina phalange*

        Wait, how can you block people? That is great. I went on ONE date with a guy in I want to say 2006 who STILL looks at my profile. I’m like, please stop. You didn’t get a second date for a reason.

    2. CMT*

      I made the mistake of allowing access to my Gmail contacts. (I guess. I don’t remember doing it.) But it kept recommending connections who were people I’d emailed from OKCupid but had never actually met in person. It was so weird!

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        Oh I freaking hate that. Every time I log in on a PC it asks me for me yahoo and email contacts.

        1. Meg Murry*

          Yes, I wish there was an option that said “never show me this person in Linked In again”! Seriously, I don’t want LinkedIn to ask me if I want to connect with ToxicBoss or MeanGirl from a previous job – I’d really rather pretend they don’t exist anymore.

          It doesn’t help at all that when I was fairly new to Gmail a friend and I tried to share a list of contacts through a CSV upload – neither of us paid super close attention and a mistake was made and rather than just giving me the 100 email addresses from her I wanted, I got her entire 600+ person Gmail address book, and no way to fix it except manually deleting one by one.

      2. the gold digger*

        They don’t ask. They just spy on your email.

        I am tired of being asked if I want to connect with my husband’s mother.

        1. She is dead.
        2. Even if she were still alive, I would not want to connect with her.

        1. jbeans*

          The creep factor was one of the reasons why I stopped using LinkedIn. Unless my becoming a LinkedIn member I agreed to share my contacts from my emails, I did not give them permission to pull that data.

        2. manybellsdown*

          You can actually contact LinkedIn on behalf of a deceased relative. My father passed away two years ago, but because he was a top aerospace engineer he had a LOT of contacts and was still getting a lot of profile hits. And, I got bummed out by his picture popping up at the top of my contacts all the time.

          So I just emailed them with the relevant information and they took his profile down.

      3. SusanIvanova*

        They put up a page that looks a lot like they need you to log into LinkedIn, but it’s really collecting your email address and password for them to log into your email. Use different passwords for LinkedIn than anywhere else, that way if you do enter a password there it won’t give them access.

        Different passwords for important sites are a good idea in general – I reuse passwords for message boards because the worst that can happen is someone posts as me, but those don’t overlap with anything that could be harmful.

        1. Vulcan social worker*

          I don’t understand how LinkedIn figures how I know certain people. I do not use the same passwords for any two accounts thanks to a password generator and program that saves them for me. I am registered on LI using a gmail account that I only use for job and job search purposes, a firstname.lastname address. I did not give LI permission to access any of my accounts. Yet the first time I logged on, it knew people I went on dates with 10 years ago, people I used to volunteer with, and old friends. No one in my everyday life when I signed up. Those people would all be from my most used email address, but so would be my family members who also use it. It didn’t suggest any of them, and my dad sends me and my brother emails all the time when he has anything too long for texts. How is LI doing this? It’s clearly not reading my Facebook or my grad school account that I keep active since it missed the people I actually see in real life and I had to find my former classmates and colleagues by searching for them. Zero were suggested. But two exes were! Thanks, LinkedIn!

          1. LQ*

            You may not have given them access, but those people may have given them access to their accounts and they came up with your name that way.

            I also recommend using things like LinkedIn, FaceBook and the other leeches on a private browser when nothing else is open in that browser. (I’m so not a fan. I actually only use LinkedIn at work and from a computer when I’m not signed into anything else at all. And Facebook? Which I despise but that only from a secured browser all hidden away.)

            1. Vulcan social worker*

              It could have my name from them, but none of them would have that email address as I’d not kept in touch with the majority of them, only a few as Facebook friends as I no longer live in that city. I do log onto the two email accounts from the same computer now though, and it sounds like you are saying it can read my contacts from both since I do that. They are pretty seamlessly integrated. I read both from the mail apps on my iPhone and MacBook.

              I think I’ve missed the boat on private browsing on both Facebook and LinkedIn, but I do appreciate the advice. I’m sure both have all my data. I know every time I look at something on Amazon or Ann Taylor on my computer, I get an ad for it on Facebook on the phone too. I don’t use the app on the phone, just the Facebook site on Safari. I’m bothered by the lack of privacy everywhere, but not quite enough that I don’t use a smartphone. I try to mitigate it a bit by not downloading those apps that want full access to my phone in exchange for cute emojis, but I live with Facebook knowing what clothes I looked at last week.

      4. HarryV*

        They also suggest connections with people who have similar names to my real connections. “No, I don’t know a Charles xxxxx in Singapore!”

  4. Seal*

    I would add spellcheck is your friend to the list, although I don’t know if that’s a faux pas so much as inattention to detail. The last time I interviewed for a job I looked up the person the position reported to on LinkedIn and saw that they had an obvious misspelling of a common word in their job title. It made me cringe, particularly since this person was in upper administration. The devil’s in the details, as they say.

    1. J-nonymous*

      Yeah – I feel the same way about a typo/misspelling in one’s LI profile as I do about having that in a resume.

  5. AMG*

    I am guilty of sending the generic message to connections. Didn’t realize that was a faux pas. I will have to customize them from here.

    1. FD*

      Personally, I don’t mind it if it’s someone I actually know. For example, if we met at a networking meeting and we had a great conversation, I don’t mind getting the boilerplate. But if you’re sending a request to someone who may not remember who you are, or who doesn’t really know you, you really should customize it.

      1. BRR*

        I’m with you on this one. If I send a connection to somebody I worked with or similar I’m probably not going to do a custom message.

        1. NotherName*

          I agree. There are some people who I see pretty regularly. If they have to be reminded who I am, then maybe I don’t want them as a connection…?

      2. The IT Manager*

        Ditto! As long as I think they’ll remember me, I keep the generic message. Although TBH, I’m not using it for job hunting. I use it to occasionally see where old colleagues ended up. I also use it to look up new people on my team to see a picture and their background. And of course people who just joined my team should probably know who I am so I just use the default message.

      3. PizzaSquared*

        I agree. Probably 99% of the connection requests I get are the default message, and I don’t care. If I know the person, I accept them. If I don’t, I ignore it. I suppose if someone is in the blurry area where I do know them but might not remember, it would behoove them to include some context. But I think that’s pretty rare. The vast majority of my connection requests clearly fall into one of the two categories: people I work with/have worked with and definitely know (or people I’ve just recently met and easily remember), or blatant spam. A customized message isn’t going to change my response to either category.

    2. Judy*

      I don’t like that LinkedIn doesn’t always give you a chance to put a message. When you click “connect” in the “people you may know”, it just sends the generic message.

    3. Stranger than fiction*

      Well, when you hit the connect button on that list of suggestions and you’re on the mobile app, it doesn’t even give you any message options.

    4. LQ*

      I feel like if I clearly know you then it is fine. If you work with me every day? Feel free to send something not customized. But if I’ve never met someone? Or only at one meeting 3 years ago? …That should absolutely be customized.

    5. Vicki*

      Everyone needs to know that there are two ways to “Connect” with someone.

      1) If you go to their page and click “Connect”, you’ll get a screen that lets you change the request phrasing. You’ll also get a bunch of choice for “How do you know this person”.
      Important – the person you want to connect with will NOT see what you chose! Only LinkedIn sees that.

      2) If Linked offers you a list of names and says “you may know these people” and you click a connect button, #1 above does not apply. There is NO WAY to edit the phrasing (and LI already assumes you know the person in some way).

      Please do NOT reject people out of hand if they did not modify the standard “I would like to connect with you” text. If they clicked Connect through LI’s list of people, they were never given the opportunity to change it.

  6. K.*

    One of my friends gets hit on on LinkedIn ALL THE TIME. He accepts most requests but they almost always follow up with a pick-up line, and a pretty brazen one at that. i don’t know what that’s about – he’s gay and works in a kind of unusual field and he says he likes to help people who are trying to work in it, but Linkedin is not Tinder.

    1. 2 Cents*

      I have received two requests for dates on LinkedIn after I added people I didn’t recognize (but we belonged to the same industry groups). My new policy: If I don’t know you or someone you’re connected with, no linking!

  7. BRR*

    I would add having more than one profile. I don’t think anybody does this on purpose but I wouldn’t want somebody to search for me and two or three profiles for me show up.

    1. After the Snow*

      And keep them updated or delete them. Local reporter has 2 linked in profiles. One that only has college on it. the second has college and first jobs but indicates she is still working at the last job before local jig. She has been here for almost 2 years. And her husband’s linkedin profile has him last employed in December 2014. Which is highly unlikely.

    2. Stranger than fiction*

      I’ve seen that! And often the others have no pic. I wonder if it’s because the company creates one for their employees with their work email and then they move on from there and can no longer access that one.
      And while I’m at it – don’t use your work email, use a personal one. You never know what people are going to send you, you wouldn’t want recruiters contacting you on work email, and you don’t want any hassles after you leave that company. You’d be surprised how many people I’ve known who use their work email.

      1. Nikki T*

        I find it odd how much people use work email for things. You may always have access to that account!

      2. Crazy Dog Lady*

        In order to access LinkedIn at work, I have to have an account with my work email. Part of the agreement is that my account messages can be read at any time, so I use it just as a placeholder. I don’t want recruiters contacting me on my work email, and it’s just easier to keep them separate.

    3. Lia*

      What is up with that? I recently got a connection request from a former co-worker and I thought it was odd, because we had connected when we worked together. Looked it up, and she has made 3 LI profiles, one for each of her 3 most recent jobs! I wonder if she thinks she needs to do that rather than adding a new job…

  8. Jen*

    I’ve noticed that a number of people lately have been using Linkedin as if it was Facebook 5 years ago. Lots of “like this photo if you want to help this abused dog” or weird urban legend links. Linkedin is not Facebook. Work posts only, people.

    1. Kai*

      I’ve noticed this too! And so many people share “motivational” or “inspirational” quotes, as little memes. It’s really cheesy.

    2. Jubilance*

      Yes, I’ve noticed this too and it’s so annoying. A lot of times it will show you what your connections have liked/commented on, and I don’t want to see those things. I need to figure out how to turn that off.

      1. Vulcan social worker*

        I find that so weird. I’m all for celebrating when a colleague has been at the organization for 20 years. But I’m supposed to celebrate that Jane’s two-year anniversary at her office is coming up? I hope you get a good review and your raise covers more than cost of living, Jane, but it’s hard to get too enthusiastic about it unless I know Jane has some kind of major issue that makes it a big deal, like she her major depressive disorder is in full remission and here she is, able to get herself to work every day for two whole years which she has never done before. And even so, if Jane is my close friend, she’s going to tell me herself if she’s excited about that accomplishment. It’s weird for LinkedIn to announce it to her whole professional network, most of whom wouldn’t know that it was a big deal for her.

  9. TheAssistant*

    Thanks to this article, I just realized you can turn off the endorsements function! What a relief. Also really glad “social media” was not listed as one of my skills :)

  10. J-nonymous*

    HI Alison –

    In the article, you link to an article for inappropriately flirtatious messaging on LinkedIn but the actual article is about inadvertent sexist behaviors in the workplace. Was this intentional?

    P.S. Endorsements is pretty much a click game and totally not worth it.

  11. Cupcake Girl*

    Very good points Alison, especially about the unprofessional photos.

    I know one person who has a joint profile photo, i.e. it’s a photo of she and her husband together. The heading reads, “Bob and Cathy Doe” (not their real names, but you get the idea) and them smiling, with their arms around each other. They do not own/operate a business together. In fact, she has never worked and has been a lifelong housewife, while he’s in the construction industry.

    I don’t understand why theirs is a combined profile, as they certainly don’t share a business, career or even the same skills! They are not conjoined twins either!

    Use only yourself in the photo. No second parties, props, pets, wacky accessories, etc. These are not helping you look professional or credible.

    1. Kvaren*

      I see situations like that as a possible red flag for abuse. “You’re not allowed to have a profile unless it’s for both of us so that I can see everything you do.” It can be a sign easily seen from the surface that hints at much deeper issues. Sounds extreme, but I’ve seen this happen on Facebook with friend’s marriage.

      On the other hand, they could just be that really annoying couple.

      1. Cupcake Girl*

        Kvaren: I could see this potentially happening if a controlling husband wanted full access/knowledge of the wife’s online activities. But the weird thing is that it’s his profile, not hers. She’s the one I know (not him) and I just happened to come across this as he & I unknowingly have a few connections in common. The profile lists all of his jobs, skills, etc.

        Certainly no need for them both to be in the picture.

        1. TCO*

          Women can be the controlling partner in a relationship, too. That’s not to say that’s what is happening in this case, but I just felt compelled to point out that men can easily be victims.

          1. Cupcake Girl*

            @TCO: very true and I didn’t mean to imply that only women are victims in these cases. My apologies if it came across that way, as I didn’t intend that at all.

      2. Lady Kelvin*

        I really hate it when people do this, I have a family member whose name on Facebook is SandraLouisDanny n Eric Kelvin. Every time she has a kid she adds another name to the list. Its crazy. (She is crazy in other ways too, but seriously).

      3. bridget*

        In my [former] religious community, this was a practice that is commonly advised for married couples (joint social media accounts and email addresses). The religion is very against pornography use in any form, and suspicious of the capability of social media to spark extra-marital affairs, so the idea is that neither half of the couple is ever “alone” on the internet. It’s “controlling” in one sense, but controlling in a way that the participants are signing up for (as in, they join/remain in a religion that sharply limits behaviors).

        1. Cupcake Girl*

          @Bridget: I’ve never heard of this before and now I’m fascinated. May I ask what religion this is?

          I’m starting to wonder if this is what happened with a former colleague of mine. He and his wife had a shared Facebook account and he had to “approve” every post, comment or photo that she posted. She is a disabled, stay-at-home mom and found Facebook a good way to connect with others, as she could no longer walk and never left the house or did anything on her own. She was bored & lonely and ended up creating a separate Facebook account where she met another man & is now living with him! By the way, this couple is staunchly Catholic, if that makes a difference.

          1. bridget*

            Mormonism (although it’s not an official policy, as far as I know). I’ve just heard a lot of leaders in individual congregations mention it as a good idea (as well as things like “have very strong parental blocks on the home internet connection, and only the wife has the password to disable it” [embedded sexist assumptions, ahoy!]). And, I’ve heard congregational leaders say they recommend it to all couples who come in for pre-marital counseling, or to people who come in to confess/receive counseling for internet-based sins. I’ve no idea whether it’s unique to Mormonism (I suspect it isn’t, seems like something a lot of conservative religions/social groups would see a benefit to).

            So – because a very large chunk of my social group is Mormon, I know LOTS and LOTS of people with combined social media pages. Facebook is most common; only the diehards would extend the principle to Linkedin.

          2. bridget*

            BTW, I’ve never encountered any couples that have the level of enmeshment your friend had, requiring the other person to “approve” every post, etc. That seems beyond the pale for even very socially conservative people, crossing over into unhealthily controlling territory. If I were that woman, I’d probably have my eye out for greener pastures too, religious or no!

            1. I'm a Little Teapot*

              Yeah, I was just about to post that their relationship sounds really, really creepy – like he had to approve and monitor all of her contact with the outside world. Which is an abuser’s dream. I, too, am glad she got out.

        2. Ad Astra*

          I have also heard of some religious communities espousing this kind of thing, equating “no secrets” with “no privacy.” I don’t see how any couple could foster trust in their relationship if they’re not allowed to keep their own accounts with their own passwords.

          I have heard some people set up joint email accounts for things like school bulletins, veterinarians, shared credit cards, Nest logins, and whatever other information both spouses would want equal access to. I actually think it’s a good idea, but I’m too embarrassed to set one up.

          1. Judy*

            Yes, we have an email address that just forwards to both my and my husband’s emails. Makes it easier for school stuff. My girl scout troop also has an email address that forwards to the three leaders.

          2. DLB*

            For accounts we both need access to, we have a shared password and a specific email address for the user name.

    2. J-nonymous*

      Yeah, I see this on Facebook a lot (and definitely jump to some conclusions about the couple based on it). I’ve yet to see it on LinkedIn, but given how many other instances there are of people treating LinkedIn like it’s Facebook (and as someone said – Facebook ~5 years ago), I’m not wholly surprised!

    3. the gold digger*

      But cats are OK, right? My cat is way more photogenic than I am. (OK – only half of my cat is visible and it’s her butt on my shoulder and she blends into the background. I had a hard time finding a photo of myself that I liked.)

  12. manybellsdown*

    I turned off my endorsements on your recommendation. I thought it was a little odd anyway; I was getting “endorsed” by people I knew but hadn’t actually worked with, for skills I didn’t even have! But there’s still a “skills” section that I can’t seem to get rid of – if I delete all the skills it still shows up as a blank section. Should I leave it blank, leave skills in it, or see if there’s a way to delete it altogether?

    1. Stranger than fiction*

      I always have to say “well bless their heart” when people I’ve worked with endorse me for stuff I’ve never done.

  13. Mickey Q*

    I can top everybody. The VP at our company has misspelled HIS OWN NAME on there. I let him know about it but he never corrected it. For years I’ve been getting requests to connect to him, probably accidental on his part. I refuse to connect to him if he can’t even correct his name.

    1. Blossom*

      To be fair, I can see how this could come about. I work with someone whose name is pronounced differently to how it is spelt (apparently, her parents are not native English speakers and didn’t realise). At work, she uses the original-but-misspelt version. On LinkedIn (and other social media), she uses a more phonetic version. I’m not sure why she doesn’t also use the phonetic version at work, but she seems quite easy-going about it. I’m sure there are plenty of people with similar reasons for using variations of their name. I’d rather believe that, than that someone can’t spell their own name, but who knows!

    2. the gold digger*

      My favorite is still the recruiter (who rejected me and whom I later discovered had the job because his dad and the CEO were friends) who had on his LinkedIn profile that he was “in charge of corporate highers.”

  14. PK*

    Once I was at a restaurant where table were so close you couldn’t help but clearly hear the other tables’ conversations. Couple next to me was on a first date, and he’d asked her out on LinkedIn. He might have learned his lesson, though, because she kept talking about how much she loved One Direction and other things that he was barely able to feign interest in.

  15. Rat Racer*

    Faux Pas number 8:
    I don’t know how I managed to do this, but I once accidentally sent a LinkedIn request to EVERYONE I’d ever emailed through Gmail, including my brother-in-law, whose father had passed away the day before, my horrible former boss, and several ex-boyfriends whom I had not spoken to since college. Still makes me cringe…

    1. Rat Racer*

      …and I can’t count. That should say “Faux Pas #9” or maybe some other number reserved for some horrible circle of LinkedIn hell…

    2. manybellsdown*

      Linkedin makes it so easy to do this nonsense by mistake, though. You let it search for connections and everyone you’ve ever emailed shows up – whether or not they even have a Linkedin. I constantly get prompted to add a PTA mom from when my daughter was a third-grader – we had one interaction, and it wasn’t pleasant. I am never going to add her!

  16. GlorifiedPlumber*

    Ohh man, I have a great 9th “Linkedin Faux Pas”!

    #9 – Broadcasting to the world sensitive client information that the client has not yet broadcasted.

    More info: I engineer often for “Confidential Client” that often executes “Confidential multi million dollar construction projects” that make national news media. In the grand scheme of the overall client, they had a general contractor construction coordinator put on their linked in that they were CC for “Confidential Client project.” Thinking they followed the rules because they used confidential client.

    The news media found it… and based on the name of the project, was able to “guess and investigate” to ultimate datamine what the client was doing, but had NOT broadcast to the world. Given the size of the project, it was MASSIVE local news, and important news from an investor level.

    WAH WAH… don’t think they fired that person, and I never did find out exactly who it was (these were all people I worked with).

  17. SusanIvanova*

    I was chatting with co-workers about the LinkedIn endorsements – there’s one language on there I’ve never so much as read (it’s Perl, which is not-so-jokingly referred to as a write-only language) and another that triggers job offers as far away from my interests as possible. So when a co-woroker pointed out how to find the obscure “remove endorsements” page, I did so.

    Not 10 minutes later another co-worker endorsed me for them! I thought he was joking, but no, he hadn’t been in that chat – totally coincidentally, he’d logged in, seen those two pop up for me, and clicked them.

  18. Ad Astra*

    I’ve seen more than one person sign up for LinkedIn as Lastname Firstname. Pretty unambiguous names, too, like Baumgardner Emily (as opposed to, say, Bailey Jordan). How does that happen?

    1. Cupcake Girl*

      I’ve seen this too, along with its cousin: writing the name like an email address, e.g. John.Doe instead of just John Doe. Why put the period in there? It’s supposed to be your normal, regular name that you’re known by.

      1. Meg Murry*

        My other pet peeve alo with this is the people who have their name in all lowercase. Did you not learn about proper nouns in 3rd grade? Or are you trying to have a pretentious personal brand of refusing to use a shift key?

  19. BioPharma*

    I would like clarification on #6. Filling your summary with subjective self-assessments. Does this basically mean that soft skills cannot be highlighted here? What if you really are a great communicator and liaise well between departments? Those are subjective self-assessments, but would not be mentioned anywhere?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Same as on a resume — you don’t want to just assert that you have great communication skills, because anyone can claim that so it carries no weight and looks like fluff. Instead, you want to talk about things you’ve accomplished that demonstrate great communication skills, because that’s real evidence.

  20. Jack the treacle eater*

    To your last point, I’m wary of putting my achievements on Linked In, not because I’d be inflating them but because I worked for successive managers one of whom claimed the notable things I did as his, the other of whom downplayed everything I did and constantly demeaned my work and skills. I’d be worried when it came to references they’d just say ‘yes, saw his LI but he didn’t do any of that’.

    In fact, rightly or not, I’ve resisted an LI profile completely so far, perhaps to my own detriment; though people talk about it being a great networking tool, my experience of it is meaningless endorsements, constant spam emails asking me to join, connect with people I hardly know, and so on; which rather devalues their brand and give the impression it’s not a serious, professional tool.

    1. Doriana Gray*

      In fact, rightly or not, I’ve resisted an LI profile completely so far, perhaps to my own detriment; though people talk about it being a great networking tool, my experience of it is meaningless endorsements, constant spam emails asking me to join, connect with people I hardly know, and so on; which rather devalues their brand and give the impression it’s not a serious, professional tool.

      LinkedIn has been pretty useless for me for these same reasons. I’d delete it altogether, but in the event that I need to resume my job search, I guess it’s helpful to have so I can look up hiring managers’ profiles.

      1. Jack the Treacle Eater*

        I should probably have phrased this as more of a question than a statement. Interesting that others have a poor impression of LI. It would be interesting to see a longer discussion of the merits and drawbacks of Linked In for job hunting.

  21. Ananou*

    One night during maternity leave a few years ago I was up in the middle of the night nursing my newborn, and in order to stay awake I decided to peruse LinkedIn, mostly to read articles and catch up on anything I’d missed over the last few weeks. While moving my infant around to get comfy, I actually bumped the phone with my chest and when I looked down at my phone it said “Invitation has been sent.” I was mortified and I had no idea who I’d invited to connect with me, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to view that information from my phone, so I gave up and forgot about it. A few days later an executive at my company who worked in a different state and that I had never crossed paths with accepted my invite, so at least it was someone from my company. I still felt very uncomfortable about the fact that he received an invitation from me at 3 a.m., not least since I did not know him whatsoever.

    1. Granite*

      Eh, any time I get an invitation that seems odd, I just assume it was unintentional. And as LI makes it so easy to do, I don’t think anything about it, as far as it reflecting on the individual.

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