7 faux pas you may be committing on LinkedIn


If you’ve read anything I’ve written in the past three weeks, you probably know that I’m now on Facebook. I’ve written ad nauseam about this, to the point where I’m tired of writing about this insignificant factoid. Nonetheless, I’m glad I finally made the plunge; Facebook is drawing out my personal side, much to the chagrin of my family. (They think my posts are embarrassing.)

You may also have seen me share a record shattering 25 updates…today. Not really, but I think I came close to 10 updates. Again, I’m tired of sharing updates, fully aware that many of my connections have hidden me. Now it’s called “Unfollow Bob McIntosh.” So, oversharing is one thing that makes LinkedIn tricky. When do you stop and shut down your laptop?

Following are six other LinkedIn faux pas.

Posting Irrelevant Content


Some people confuse their updates, photos, political statements, or mathematics games with content that is relevant to members of LinkedIn, a purported professional networking platform. Lately there has been some outcry, including from yours truly, about this irrelevant content.

“Go to Facebook,” they say. This is a legitimate request. As I said earlier, I joined Facebook. I joined it because I want to know what I’m talking about when I compare LinkedIn with Facebook. What I’ve learned from my short stint on FB is that it’s a place to “let your hair down.”

A video of a parent’s first child’s birthday party is relevant on FB. A political statement is relevant on FB. But these examples are NOT relevant on LinkedIn. When there are “R U a Genius” games, photos of butterflies; LinkedIn’s purpose becomes diluted.

On the other hand, too much professional content on Facebook  dilutes its purpose, which is to give people the forum to know each other’s personal lives. When I posted articles I or others have written, I’m sure Facebookies were thinking, “This is boring.”

I posted photos of my family, a snow storm, chickadees eating out of my kids’ hands, my son at his basketball game, and various other personal matter. It felt refreshing. Again, nothing that belongs on LinkedIn.

Not Keeping Your Cool

angry person3

This continues to be a problem for some LinkedIn members, who take every opportunity to disparage, say, employers who they feel have done them wrong.  I wrote a popular post on this, Some advice for my angry LinkedIn connection. I don’t expect this behavior to cease immediately, but I’m hoping to cause some awareness.

In some cases the people of whom I describe demonstrate excellent writing ability; however, ruin their post for me with one sentence that shows their true nature. They’re not keeping their cool. The climax of their post is the one statement that bashes the entity of which they’re writing.

People like this remind me of children who are tempted by a cookie jar sitting on the counter, and while other children can refrain from taking a cookie, this person just can’t resist, so he grabs that cookie.

Damn, so close.

Not Following Etiquette

We’ve all read enough about how sending the default invite message to people with whom you’d like to connect is poor etiquette. Frustrated LinkedIn members have written about this over and over, yet the majority of default invite messages I receive, 19 out of 20, keep rolling in. Default messages do suck.

I’ll admit that one etiquette rule I break is the limit of updates one is “allowed” to update. The number of updates is purported to be four a day at most. I’m clearly an offender of this. I once tried to keep my update number down, but to no avail. I mention this in the second paragraph of the post but thought it warranted repeating.

On the flip side of overdoing it with updates, is not doing enough. I can’t tell you how many people who begin a strong LinkedIn campaign only to leave LI or resurface twice a month. They have, essentially disappeared. I wonder if Facebook as sucked them in…like LinkedIn in has sucked me in.

The last violation I will mention is what many people have been complaining of lately; spamming their newly acquired connections. No sooner does a person accept an invite when WHAM they’re hit with, “Will you buy my product or service now that we’re trusted connections?” This causes a violent reaction from some LinkedIn members.

Letting it Control Your Life

Writer's Block

Sometimes we learn best from our mistakes. Letting LinkedIn control my life is a reality I struggle with; I’m on the platform everyday at least half an hour or more each day. This, to me and others, seems twisted.

Think to yourself what is the purpose of my LinkedIn engagement? Is it to find a job and am I do it right? To generate leads? To disseminate information? Build brand awareness? A little bit of both? Do you have a plan? Are you using LinkedIn to fill time? Is LinkedIn a marathon?

I sometimes envy the people who have a balance between their LinkedIn involvement and daily life. They seem to have their priorities correct. I’ve also come to realize that the people who are on LinkedIn four times a week are also on Facebook a good amount of time. Is that any better?

LinkedIn does seem to me to be a marathon I haven’t stopped running since I joined it seven years ago. Despite all this, I’ve seen some of my connections maintain my insane schedule and even exceed it.

Loving LinkedIn and Leaving It

disappering (1)

The adverse to Letting LinkedIn control your life is leaving LinkedIn high and dry. I run across job seekers who admit that the only reason they’re in my workshop is to pick up where they left off.

Secretly I’m thinking these people are committed one of the most egregious faux pas of all time. They opened an account, set up a profile, and once they found work they abandoned LinkedIn. Dropped it like hot potato.

How could they do this to LinkedIn? Don’t they understand that LinkedIn is at its best when they’re working and have the leverage to build the network they need for the rest of their career.

So what’s worse, letting LinkedIn consume your life like it has mine, or treating it like a friend you use? I say it is the latter.

Thinking LinkedIn Alone Will Get You Your Next Job

LinkedIn AloneFor job seekers, I have this bit of advice for you: yes, you must put effort into your LinkedIn campaign, as well as utilize Facebook and Twitter; but it is not the elixir some believe it is. In other words, LinkedIn alone will not garner you a job.

A successful job search must combine personal with online networking, online networking to reach out to connections who then become personal connections. Personal networking is supplemented by LinkedIn and perhaps Facebook and Twitter. That said, you must put the effort into your LinkedIn campaign.

This belief that social media alone will land you a job can be tricky for those who fear personal networking like they fear a dark cellar, so they feel LinkedIn is the answer to easing their fear. As I’ve said before, LinkedIn won’t do it alone.

Final Thoughts

I’m thankful for LinkedIn, and other social media, as they have given me the opportunity to meet and learn about interesting people—both online and in person. It has allowed me to share information from me and other bloggers. And my engagement has resulted in side business in the form of LinkedIn profile writing and public speaking events.

While LinkedIn has been kind to me, there are still some problems that need to be fixed. But that’s half the fun, strategizing on how to collaborate with others to mend the negativity, and reminding others of proper etiquette and relevant content. For job seekers, I again stress that LinkedIn alone is not your answer to landing  your next job.

For my growth on social media, perhaps I need to grow at a slower more consistent manner. Instead of logging 45 minutes a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks out of the year…yes, even on vacation. There is a lot I need to learn about using social media.

I’m interested in hearing about some faux pas you’ve committed or have thought of. Please leave a comment. And as always, please share this post if you enjoyed it.

If you want to learn more about LinkedIn, visit this compilation of LinkedIn posts.

Photo: Flickr, Confused, Geo

Photo: Flickr, Irrelevant, Jordy

Photo: Flickr, Twinkle J





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