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7 common mistakes job seekers make on LinkedIn

Matt Kapko | March 2, 2015
LinkedIn serves hundreds of millions of members, all of whom want to improve their careers in one way or another. In the final installment of our four-part Social Media Rules of Engagement series,'s Matt Kapko shares advice on how to ensure you don't inadvertently hurt your job prospects by misusing the service.

There's nothing wrong with inviting colleagues to join LinkedIn, of course, but you should be selective with who you invite. It's also wise to remember that if someone isn't already on LinkedIn at this point, they could be purposely avoiding it.

Don't Overshare on LinkedIn
Updates are another Linked feature, and occasional annoyance, that should be used sparingly, or at least strategically. Go to your settings, and make sure updates are turned off if you don't want your entire network to know every time you make any sort of change to your profile.

It's fine, good even, to let people know when you're promoted or when you take on a new venture, but not everyone needs to be alerted when you add a new skill or update your biography.

Personalize LinkedIn Connection Requests
LinkedIn automatically generates a quick message that's sent to recipients of your connection requests, but a little personalizing can go a long way. It only takes a minute or two to write something more personal, and that extra effort makes you look more professional.

You can dramatically increase your chances of a successful connection by including details about yourself or the circumstances in which you met. People will appreciate it if you remind them when or how you met in person, and doing so can be the different between a new connection and an ignored request.

Use an Appropriate Linked Profile Photo
The choice not to use a LinkedIn profile can be almost as damaging as the choice to use a photo that shows oneself in unprofessional circumstances. You may enjoy wearing tank tops or going unshaven on weekends while you take your WaveRunner out for a spin, but your colleagues and potential leads probably don't share the same enthusiasm.

The photo you use to represent yourself on LinkedIn is often the first thing others see, and it can play a significant (sometimes unfair) role in establishing a first impression. Professional headshots aren't required, but try to at least use a photo that paints you in a serious and professional way.

Don't Be an @$$#*!~
The most important rule on LinkedIn -- and any other social network, really -- is simple: don't be an @$$#*!~.

You don't always have to be nice, but you can get your point across on LinkedIn without being mean, calling people disparaging names or posting hurtful things.


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