Common LinkedIn Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

LinkedIn is an invaluable tool for professional networking and job searching. With 571 million users globally, it’s no surprise that LinkedIn is widely recognized as a vital marketing tool for employers and job seekers.

If you already have an account or are planning to create one, there are ways to optimize your profile so you can leverage the platform to its fullest potential. Let’s explore common LinkedIn mistakes and how to avoid them. We’ll also provide you with useful tips on managing your LinkedIn profile to help you get noticed by recruiters.

Using Unprofessional Photos

Your photo is one of the first things people see on your profile. First impressions do matter, especially on the Internet where strangers don’t know much about you except how you look. Think of your LinkedIn profile photo as the firm handshake or enthusiastic smile you’d offer at an in-person interview.

Here are some dos and don’ts when choosing a profile photo:


  • Use a Professional Headshot: Choose a clear, high-quality photo that shows your face, neck, and shoulders.

  • Dress Appropriately: Wear professional attire that reflects your industry.

  • Use a Simple Background: The background should be neutral and uncluttered to keep the focus on you.

  • Make Sure Your Face Is Visible: Your face should be well-lit and take up about 60% of the space.


  • Use Casual or Inappropriate Photos: Avoid selfies, vacation photos, or overly staged images.

  • Include Other People or Pets: The photo should be of you alone.

  • Use Filters or Heavy Editing: Don’t overdo any filters or editing. Keep the photo as natural as possible and true to your actual appearance.

  • Use Outdated Photos: Are you tempted to use a photo from ten years ago when you think you looked your best? It’s best not to. Instead, use a recent photo that accurately represents your current appearance.

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Writing an Uninteresting and Irrelevant Headline

One of the most important LinkedIn mistakes to avoid is a boring headline. Your headline summarizes you at a glance. It’s a catchy and impactful statement that tells others about who you are and what you have to offer.

Use the headline to pique other people’s curiosity and make your personal branding stand out. When employers ask you to share an interesting fact about yourself, what do you say? A headline works pretty much the same way.


  • Highlight Your Key Skills: Use keywords relevant to your industry so that employers can easily find you.

  • Include Your Current Job Title and Aspirations: State your role or the role you’re searching for.

  • Keep It Concise: Aim for clarity and brevity.

  • Add Unique Selling Points or Adjectives: Instead of saying “Copywriter,” you can use “Brand Storyteller” to showcase your creativity.

  • Answer 3 Questions: Your headline must answer 3 questions:

1. What do you do?

2. Who do you help?

3. How do you help them?


  • Be Vague or Generic: Avoid using generic titles that don’t offer any insight into your expertise.

  • Leave It Blank: A blank headline makes you seem unserious or disengaged.

  • Overuse Buzzwords: While keywords are important, avoid stuffing your headline with irrelevant buzzwords.

Underselling Yourself in the “About” Section

LinkedIn is a personal branding resource. Just like how an entrepreneur pitches a business idea or a student defends their dissertation, you have something to sell—you. You’re on LinkedIn to promote your expertise and skills.

The Summary or About section is your chance to tell your story in a compelling way. Although you have a few paragraphs of text to share about yourself, only the first three lines are visible before the reader has to click “See More.” Here are some ways to maximize the About section:


  • List Your Achievements: Feature accomplishments and experiences relevant to your career.

  • Tell Your Story: Share your professional journey, including your passions, interests, and motivations.

  • Use Keywords: Add industry-specific keywords where appropriate to make your profile more searchable.

  • Be Authentic: Let your personality shine through.

  • Include a Call to Action: Leave important contact information and calls-to-action, whether to connect with you, visit your website, or send an email.

  • Get a LinkedIn Profile Writing Service: Want to know how best to avoid LinkedIn mistakes? A LinkedIn profile writing service ensures that your profile is optimized to perfectly encapsulate your skills and experience. By hiring a profile writer, you can sit back, relax, and see the job opportunities roll in.

  • Update Regularly: Don’t let your profile gather dust. Add your latest accomplishments and career developments regularly to ensure that nothing is left out.


  • Be Too Modest: Avoid downplaying your achievements. Confidently showcase what you bring to the table that others cannot.

  • Use Jargon: Keep your About section clear and understandable to all readers. Using complex language is one of the most common LinkedIn mistakes that job seekers commit in their attempt to appear knowledgeable.

  • Make It Too Long: Long paragraphs can overwhelm readers. Ensure that your About section is concise yet impactful.

confident applicant

Connecting Without Intention

Considering that LinkedIn is an online platform, some people assume that it works similarly to social media. Having a thousand friends or followers might seem impressive on Facebook or Instagram, but it’s actually not such a good idea when you’re using LinkedIn for job searching. Connecting without intention on LinkedIn can dilute your network and lead to missed opportunities.

Here’s how to ensure your connections are meaningful and beneficial to your career growth:


  • Personalize Your Connection Requests: Generic connection requests give the impression that you just want to boost your numbers. By crafting unique requests, such as mentioning a common interest or expressing your reasons for reaching out, you show that you’re genuinely interested in building a meaningful connection.
  • Engage With Your Network: A professional relationship doesn’t end with initial contact; maintain your network by engaging with your connections’ posts, sharing valuable content, and getting involved in discussions.

  • Follow Up: Show gratitude by following up with a thank-you message or initiating more conversations.

  • Balance Quality and Quantity: Aimlessly asking for connections won’t increase your chances of success on LinkedIn. It’s important to strike a balance between quality and quantity when building your network.


  • Ignore Connection Requests From Unknown Individuals: You may get connection requests from people you don’t know personally. However, don’t dismiss them right away. Take the time to review their connection request and respond appropriately.

  • Spam Your Network: LinkedIn may often feel like a social media platform but remember that it’s still a professional networking tool. Avoid oversharing personal updates, memes, or other irrelevant content.

  • Neglect Interactions: Among typical LinkedIn mistakes, passivity is particularly detrimental. Ensure that you’re actively participating in LinkedIn even when you’re not currently looking for a job or connections.

Not Uploading Your Resume

A resume is a formal document that shows your professional background and skills. Uploading your resume on LinkedIn is an opportunity you shouldn’t miss. Here’s how ensuring that your resume is available and optimized on LinkedIn can amplify your career prospects:


  • Upload Your Updated Resume: Enhance your LinkedIn profile by uploading a current and comprehensive resume.

  • Create a Post for Your Resume: Highlight your resume by creating a post on your feed. This allows recruiters to download your resume directly from the post.

  • Use Relevant Keywords: Incorporate relevant keywords throughout your resume to increase searchability to hiring managers.

  • Double-Check for Accuracy: Ensure that your resume is up-to-date, listing down all recent job titles and achievements.


  • Neglect Formatting: Avoid using a poorly formatted resume with cluttered layouts or excessive design elements.

  • Skip Proofreading: Thoroughly proofread your resume before uploading it to LinkedIn to prevent typos and grammatical errors. A resume writing company helps applicants keep their resumes error-free.

Avoiding these common mistakes on LinkedIn can significantly enhance your career prospects. Focus on maintaining a polished profile and fostering genuine connections. These practices will help you maximize LinkedIn as a powerful tool not only for personal branding but also for professional success.

professional resume

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  • 7 seconds: this is how long your resume has either to impress or be ignored by the recruiter
  • 300+: average number of applications one corporate job opening posted online receives
  • 3%: number of sent resumes that result in interviews

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