The 6 LinkedIn Mistakes That Make You Look Unprofessional In A Job Search


LinkedIn can feel like the final frontier of networking sites. It’s unlike any social networking app or site and it can be so easy to make these 6 common LinkedIn mistakes.

As the job market because more saturated and competitive, it is more important than ever to stand out in the job search process! But make sure you are not standing out in all the wrong ways and avoid these LinkedIn mistakes.

Before we start, make sure you check out my previous post on the 10 Steps on how to create the *perfect* LinkedIn Profile that hiring managers and recruiters will love. But, after you create the perfect LinkedIn profile, make sure you avoid these LinkedIn mistakes!


1. No LinkedIn Profile Picture

One of the very first things you should be doing on LinkedIn is adding a profile picture. Not adding a picture is the most common LinkedIn mistake. Adding a picture onto your LinkedIn profile is not about vanity or “showing off” as it may seem on other social media platforms. As I mentioned in my article on how to create the perfect LinkedIn profile, it’s about making a personal connection with you. Not having a LinkedIn profile can be damaging to your job search for many reasons.

Firstly, it doesn’t allow someone to make a personal connection with you. But beyond that, if you don’t have a profile picture, you default will be the grey figure. When comparing your profile to other candidates, it will make you look unprofessional with an incomplete profile. Lastly, it will make you look like your LinkedIn profile is inactive. Recruiters and hiring managers may not want to reach out because they don’t believe it’s even worth it if you are not active.

I understand the hesitancy in adding your photo for discrimination reasons. In my previous article about how to deal with discrimination in the workplace, I talked about the very real discrimination that happens in the job application process. It’s very true that sometimes hiring managers and recruiters could be biased and that’s why you may not want to add a LinkedIn picture, but the truth is, if you are working for someone who has an internal bias against you because of the way you look or your ethnicity, it will come out eventually when they interview, and honestly, do you really want to be working for someone like that?

Adding a LinkedIn picture is about creating a personal connection with someone. Most times, recruiters and hiring managers who are looking through LinkedIn for potential candidates are looking to fill a vacancy in their company and having a picture there allows them to get to know you better instead of a black and white name on a screen.

Remember, you’re profile picture doesn’t have to be boring or be professionally take, for more tips on how to take a great LinkedIn picture, read more here.


2. Adding Your Resume (A LinkedIn mistake with lots of consequences!)

Adding your resume on LinkedIn may seem like a FANTASTIC IDEA but it’s actually a classic mistake. It may not be obvious at first, but this is one of the LinkedIn mistakes that have some hidden consequences.

First of all, it’s completely redundant. What information on your resume is not already on your LinkedIn profile? If anything, you’re LinkedIn profile should be more in-depth (because your resume really should not be more than 2 pages long) and it’s an expansion of your resume. You may think that your resume is a printable format of your LinkedIn information, but it’s really unnecessary. The recruiters and hiring managers looking you up most likely have LinkedIn Plus (the paid version of LinkedIn) that allows them to print the profile in a “resume-like” format. So if they print off your short resume, in comparison with someone’s long, in-depth, detailed LinkedIn profile, it might look bare in comparison.

Secondly, your resume might not impress recruiters because it’s not tailored for the position they are looking to fill. I facepalm every time I hear someone say they sent out 100 resumes and never heard back. If you’ve sent out 100 resumes and never heard back, the solution is not to send out more resumes – it’s to tailor your resume to the job postings! Most people don’t know that a lot of jobs now use the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to scan their resumes and match them with the job posting. The job market is more saturated than ever, and very rarely does a generic resume work anymore. That’s why it’s not actually a good idea to attach your resume through LinkedIn. For a really great chance to work at a company, tailor your resume to the job posting using the keywords. If you are looking for an ATS resume template, make sure you check out my personal template with the workbook on how to create an ATS resume filled with keywords to beat the tracking system.

Thirdly, it’s potentially a personal security issue. Having your incredibly personal information online (that might include your address!) is a very risky game to play in my opinion. I don’t like including my resume on any job portals because I don’t like having my personal phone number online (I’m already getting a ton of spam calls) and my personal information because I don’t know who’s going to see it. When I apply for a job through a reputable portal, like a company website, I trust that this company will use my information correctly because this is a reputable company. But anybody can pretend to be a recruiter on LinkedIn. Finally, I know LinkedIn does not sell your information, but other job websites do. Overall, I don’t think the risk is worth the reward.

Lastly, if you keep an uploaded version of your resume to LinkedIn, that means you have to update your resume on LinkedIn every time you update your regular resume. More unnecessary work – no thanks! I’d rather spend my time tailoring my resume to a job posting that sending generic resumes to 10 job postings.


3. Not using hashtags correctly

To be fair, this is an easy mistake to make because LinkedIn has changed the searchability of it’s platform in the past few years. In the past, you could add hashtags to your Profile Summary (now called the About section) and have it searchable on the platform. But that feature no longer exists. So, if you have hashtags at the bottom of your LinkedIn summary, it does nothing. The way to effectively use hashtags is to add them to your updates and articles. But, if you’re like me, and not a huge contributor on LinkedIn (I don’t write any articles on there, I prefer MLA), you can also follow hashtags!

So if you want to follow industry news to stay relevant, type a hashtag into the search bar and there will be an option to follow it. And just like on Instagram, those stories will appear on your LinkedIn feed. This is helpful for a number of reasons, you could use it follow hashtags in your industry to keep up with industry news (and engage with the content to so it shows up in other people’s feed) and it helps you ask insightful questions about your industry to companies you interview with.

Whether or not you update frequently or write articles, you can still effectively use hashtags on LinkedIn.


4. Not adding skills into the Skills section

It may seem redundant to add your skills into the “Skills” section of LinkedIn, I mean, aren’t your skills listed throughout your whole LinkedIn profile? Yes, but that’s not enough.

When you apply for a job through LinkedIn, you’ll notice that there is a “Skills Match” section as a part of the job posting. It shows how your current skills match with the job posting. Sometimes, the job posting doesn’t disclose the skills and it says something like “6/10 skills match for this position.” If you have zero skills added into your LinkedIn profile, a recruiter or hiring manager could easily gloss over your profile. Hiring managers and recruiters spend the first 7 seconds of reading your profile to determine whether or not you will be a good fit for their job. If you are, they will keep reading. However, if you don’t have any skills listed (and it shows 0/10 skills matched), they will quickly move on.

That’s why not adding skills to your profile is on the of the crucial LinkedIn mistakes most people make.

Take an extra few minutes to add your skills. They are searchable so you can just click the word that best describes it.

Pro Tip: If you are currently on a job search, take note of which skills are being listed in the job postings you’re interested in! This will ensure that the recruiter or hiring manager know that you’re the correct candidate for the job. Of course, you should only add these skills if you have them (don’t lie on your profile), but take note of the wording. Maybe instead of “Communication Skills”, they are looking for “Business Communication Skills” – make sure you add the right term to your profile!


5. Not writing an interesting or captivating “About” section

Many people skip the About (previously called the Summary) section in their profile, or, they use the summary section as a summary of their experience – both of which are big LinkedIn mistakes! I used to do this because I didn’t see the point of adding anything, but this is so important in standing out in the job search process.

Avoid using your About section to re-summarize your profile. You LinkedIn profile already lists your experience, skills, languages, recommendations, etc. The best use of the summary section is to tell your story. It’s not interesting to re-read a summary of your LinkedIn profile, tell the reader about you. Why do you love to do what you do? How did you start in your career and what were your challenges?  Why is this your passion? What kind of results will you deliver? The answers to these questions are what will make your profile interesting.

For ideas on how to create a captivating LinkedIn summary – check out this post from Muse here. If you’re interested in hearing about what my About section sounds like, make sure you listen to the podcast episode when I read it out!


6. Sharing Personal Life on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is not social media. It’s not the same thing. LinkedIn is professional media. This is one of the biggest LinkedIn mistakes I see people make. I see many people who share their food pictures, vacation pictures, baby videos, and personal updates on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not the place to be social and share your life, there’s plenty of that on the internet. Avoid sharing anything personal about your life, even if it’s cutesy.

There are many different opinions on this, but I argue that LinkedIn is not the place for vacation pictures and especially not photos of your kid. Because of the algorithm of Linkedin, it is very easy for posts to go viral. That is because if post something on LinkedIn, not only does your network see it, but anyone from your network who engages with it will also have the post show up in their connections’ feeds.

This allows information to be shared very easily and some personal information (like info on your kids) can be shared to complete strangers. Of course it is okay to share personal updates, but limit that to your professional life like if you accomplished a something big, won an award, or completed an exciting project. It’s important to understand the your LinkedIn network is the same as your Facebook Friends or Instagram Followers.

Avoid sharing personal life updates as it come off as incredibly unprofessional during the job search process. Also, the truth is that most of you’re LinkedIn audience doesn’t care about your personal life, that’s why they are LinkedIn. Not understanding the purpose of LinkedIn and utilizing for it’s intended purposes is a LinkedIn mistake you must avoid.



LinkedIn can seem intimidating at the beginning but if you avoid these LinkedIn mistakes, you’re on your way to a killer jobs search. For more tips, make sure you check out the 10 steps on how to create the perfect LinkedIn profile.

Happy connecting!


Author: Kimberly

Hi there! My name is Kimberly and I created MLA as a personal development, career, and finance resource for millennials. MLA focuses on helping career-driven millennials create the personal development habits to achieve work-life balance and manage their money. Throughout this blog, you’ll find articles that give specific and detailed advice because I’m not into the fluffy advice. There’s plenty of that on the internet. Here you will find tangible advice on how to find a rewarding career (that you love!), where you can help others, and learn how to save and invest your money for the future. I hope you’ll follow along!

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