There’s a lot you can do to make your LinkedIn profile shine. You list your greatest achievements. You make connections. You take the time to write a great LinkedIn summary.
But for everything you do to make your profile stand out from the crowd, there are a lot of mistakes to avoid on LinkedIn, too. Whether you’re looking for a job or just giving your LinkedIn profile its monthly polish, here are eight problems to avoid.
We all know that lying is bad, and lying on a résumé can be especially dangerous.
It goes without saying that you should delete any fudged details. And fudging them accidentally is no excuse. Even if you mixed up your dates of employment or wrote “associate” instead of “assistant” because you hadn’t had your coffee yet that day, not being honest and not being detail-oriented are both red flags for LinkedIn recruiters. Take what Angela Ritter, a recruiter at Grammarly, has to say:
“I pay attention to detail in candidate LinkedIn profiles. I double check that the job title in their intro matches the job they are currently in, that they took the time to outline what they’re doing in their role (at least slightly), etc.”
There you have it: no lies and no mistakes.
2 Posts better suited for Facebook
Vacations. Parties. The world’s most adorable dogs. No matter how perfect those pups are, LinkedIn is not the place. As a rule, pictures and posts related to your personal rather than professional life should be reserved for Facebook, Instagram, and other more socially oriented social media platforms.
If you’re looking for a job, you might want to be careful what you post on those platforms, too. Take a look at social media mistakes to avoid while you’re job-hunting.
3 That high school babysitting job
In general, skip professional experiences from a long time ago or that aren’t relevant to your current career.
However, if a long-ago or seemingly unrelated job helped you develop skills that you want to showcase at your new job or specifically highlight in your interview, you might think about how to spin it, rather than just pressing delete. According to Nicole Williams, Linkedin’s Connection Director:
“You never know—maybe you were trained as a salesperson at The Gap in high school, and the hiring manager looking at your profile went through the same program and wants you for the skills she knows you learned.”
4 The wrong photo
Was your photo taken ten years ago? Are you making a goofy face? Is your S.O. in the photo with you? Or—social media gods forbid—are you not in the picture at all, and it shows your dog, cat, baby, iguana, or nothing at all?
Williams shares an analogy:
“It’s a lot like when you’re selling a house. If there’s no photo, it’s like ‘there must be something wrong with this property.’”
No picture is bad, but selfies and vacation photos are also better left to more social social media. Your best bet is to pick a picture in which you’re smiling and looking at least somewhat professional.
5 Company secrets
You want to show off that you brought in millions of dollars of revenue for your company last year. But your company might not want that number floating on the web. Keep specific numbers off public sites—save them for your résumé or in-person interviews.
6 Unexciting accomplishments
It’s the quality-over-quantity argument. You may be really proud of that award you won in high school, but unless that was still relatively recent or you have a specific reason for showing it off, it’s smart to remove stale achievements.
As with professional experiences that are irrelevant to your current career, accomplishments that don’t demonstrate appropriate qualifications for your future job end up looking like filler rather than highlighting how great you are.
7 Overused words
Creative. Effective. Problem-solver. Yawn. Some words are used so much they don’t seem to mean anything at all.
Pick your words wisely. Other words show up a lot but will give you a boost: leader, strategic, solution, and innovative are LinkedIn standouts, according to a Grammarly study of language on LinkedIn. Ritter says:
“These kinds of terms help recruiters easily search and find qualified candidates on LinkedIn. Having common business language on your profile is important, but you have to be prepared to talk about your expertise with those terms. ”
8 Bad style
Yes, there’s a style for LinkedIn. It involves consistency, conciseness, and knowing the right words to use. Grab some extra tips for updating your LinkedIn profile like a pro.
Being smart about what you delete and what you include can help you make an impression, make yourself look good, and make LinkedIn your ally.
Check out Grammarly’s LinkedIn data study for more pro tips.