I've been thinking a lot about how we can make LinkedIn better. In Part 1, I shared seven glaring LinkedIn no-nos. Here are some more subtle examples of LinkedIn activity that isn't helping out professionals.
Originally shared on Forbes.com
(1) The Extreme Adjective User
This "rock star" professional usually has an obviously overstated bio filled with superlatives and cliches: Coding Ninja! Brilliant lawyer! Genius CFO!
If you need to use extreme adjectives to describe your abilities, you likely won't come across as believable. Instead, follow the advice my writing mentor gave me: "Don't Tell Me, Show Me." Rather than telling people that you are a genius, show them by sharing some of your incredible accomplishments. You'll come off less braggadocious and more credible. Oh, and cool it with the exclamations points! Too many exclamation points may make you look more enthusiastic, but they may also be making you appear less educated and unable to find words to describe your enthusiasm.
(2) Hashtag Nonsense
A hashtag has one simple purpose — to allow the LinkedIn update to be categorized according to a certain topic so they can be viewed by a larger audience. People discussing marketing can use a tag such as #marketing or for marketing technology, #martech. The practice of using extremely long hashtags as a joke (e.g. #humblebrag, #seriouslysoblessed, #ireallylovemyjob) is common on other social networks such as Instagram. But this has been creeping into LinkedIn a lot lately, and it's not appropriate. Just because you have the power to invent your own hashtag, please resist the urge. You also shouldn't need to put 20 different hashtags at the end of every post.
When you invent long silly hashtags, it doesn't make you appear clever, it gives off the appearance that you don't understand the concept of hashtags.
(3) The Duplicate Profile
Some professionals have two or three separate LinkedIn profiles. This raises an immediate red flag that this professional has no idea how to use the internet, or technology in general. If you have a second profile out there, follow these simple instructions to merge a duplicate account. Even if you have more than one job, it's okay to connect with and talk about different things on social media. Don't force people to decipher which LinkedIn account is the one you're using for different purposes. It's confusing and unnecessary. (Oh, and it's against LinkedIn's terms of service to have more than one profile.)
(4) The Trust Violator
When someone accepts your LinkedIn connection request, it's the beginning of an association that has the potential to be valuable to you. Don't try to skip steps or to "game the system."
Your new connection can expect you to view their profile, but they certainly don't expect you to use your name to pitch to their connections. This is a major violation of trust, and it happens too often. A better strategy is to get to know your connections, and then ask for an introduction or permission to use their name.
(5) The Desperate Job Seeker
This LinkedIn user never sets foot on LinkedIn until the moment they lose their job. Don't list yourself as unemployed, list yourself as "seeking to build a sales team" or "looking for a fast-growing company." Just be sure not to come across as needy — it’s a huge turnoff to employers. Instead of making your title “unemployed,” try using positive words about the type of work that you’re looking for. Use phrases such as: “looking to build a great sales team.”
(6) The "Un-Professional" That Thinks That LinkedIn Is a Dating Site
If someone connects with you on LinkedIn, it’s not an invitation to tell them that you think they are “striking.” This isn’t Tinder. Leave that for dating sites and let’s let LinkedIn be a professional site.
I've heard from many of my female colleagues that this problem is getting worse. It's up to all of us to ensure that LinkedIn stays a useful site for professionals. That starts by treating each other with respect. Even if you think you had a "moment" with someone, don't make it weird on LinkedIn. And no, creepy guy, just because someone you find attractive viewed your LinkedIn profile, it probably wasn't a "moment."
(7) The Blank Profile
This professional haphazardly set up a LinkedIn account years ago and then forgot about it. They forgot the password and then had to create another one. They included their name and maybe a job title. There is no picture. No summary. No job history. No point.
Even if you think that your business doesn't rely on web traffic, people are still looking you up online. If you have an incomplete profile, you're sending a message that you don't think that the way you present yourself online is very important.
LinkedIn is a giant marketplace of professionals. To stand out, you need to demonstrate exceptional abilities, but also sufficient tact. Hopefully by learning from these "dumb things" you can stand out for your abilities and not for your ability to create awkward silence on a site that is designed without sound effects to start with.
Adrian Dayton is the Founder of Clearview Social, an internationally recognized speaker on social media for business development, and author of multiple books and white papers including most recently the strategy guide, “9 Reasons Why No One is Seeing Your Company's Content and How to Fix it.”