10 most popular pesky LinkedIn pet peeves

Thousands of professionals from all walks of life have built extensive networks and found ways to expand their online reach through the professional networking site, LinkedIn. While almost everyone is aware of the need to create a positive first impression, here are a few of the most common issues observed where that may not be happening.

1. Outdated, incomplete or inconsistent profile content
LinkedIn’s member count is rapidly growing, though it is hard to tell if it includes those that forgot that they had a profile and ended up creating more than one. It looks careless and confusing to others if someone has more than one profile, especially if they’ve or also failed to manage a cohesive message. Plenty of people neglect their profiles and leave up old company information or status messages even if they’ve made a change. Others complicate their profiles by not matching their content to their purpose for using LinkedIn. One of the most obvious clues that a profile is incomplete or untended is the lack of a photo. Profiles with photos are far more likely to be viewed than those without a picture.

2. Generic links to websites, blogs or other content
LinkedIn provides a place for users to connect their business website, blog or professional portfolio. Many people either don’t take advantage of that feature or simply keep the default terminology in place. Whenever it is possible to customize, users should be specific about where the link will lead. For example, instead of leaving the “company website” default label, a person should state the actual company name, the title/theme of their blog or the context for their portfolio. It is important to keep links, documents and attachments updated and properly labeled regardless of the application being used.

3. Unimaginative and repetitive status updates
Many people follow a schedule for their status updates. Others don’t seem to pay any attention at all and leave up the same “happy holidays” message for two years at a time. Regarding those who post updates, one of the most annoying habits is being a broken record. These are the people who constantly post the same exact message each and every time they decide to update. For example they may list links to their website, webinars, blogs with the same headline each time. Not only is “same old, same old” underwhelming and boring to see, but people associate traits of the message with those of the messenger.

4. Ineffective group participation
LinkedIn allows users to join up to 50 groups as well as sub-groups of each. Within each group are discussions that people can join or they can start their own topic. One of the unfortunate outcomes is when people post to a topic without thoroughly reading the original post or subsequent replies. Participation in a discussion is usually best when the conversation remains on topic with each person adding a different or new perspective. Simply posting a “me too” comment doesn’t add any value and reflects poorly on the person posting. Another issue is when people post topics or questions without a clear or specific subject line. Examples would be “question” or “need help.” Of course abusers such as spammers and people posting off topic content should be flagged for the group manager to address.

5. Obsessing over SEO
For years search engine optimization has been a moving target in the Internet world. Countless people continually develop methods to place as high as possible on various search sites and outsmart the competition. There are many different techniques, formulas and strategies used to accomplish this; some very impressive and some downright foolish. Many LinkedIn users have been instructed to mimic these trends by imbedding strings of key terms or buzz words in their profiles. The problem with this type of overt and somewhat unsophisticated approach is that it creates a disjointed and choppy flow to the person’s information. Rather than writing a compelling description incorporating how those terms are relevant, some people simply place a chunk of text with any and all of these commonly searched words, regardless of how sloppy it looks. They are doing this to increase their number of profile views instead of focusing on creating a more impressive story that attracts not just looks, but leads and opportunities.

6. Locking down contact settings
For most people, a key benefit of using LinkedIn is management of professional networking contacts. Sadly, some people claim that they are using LinkedIn to expand their network, get found by prospective business connections and similar reasons, yet they keep restrictive settings on their profile making it difficult to impossible for anyone to reach them. Of course, everyone is concerned with privacy and protecting their confidential information, but that doesn’t mean it is necessary to prevent others from easily finding one or more ways to get in touch.

7. Appearing needy, desperate and stating the obvious
LinkedIn has rapidly enhanced functionality and features making it an extremely valuable research resource for recruiters and job seekers alike. It is common knowledge that recruiters search LinkedIn for talent. Likewise, job seekers are hoping to leverage the tool to locate their next opportunity. An interesting, though perhaps not advisable status update is when a person posts that they are seeking a new XYZ opportunity along with request for anyone who sees that message to help them with that pursuit. Being that LinkedIn provides a space to show one’s talent in the best light, a more impressive twist would be to show the type of value that person brings, appearing helpful instead helpless.

8. Posting TMI
Related to status updates and discussion posts, there are assorted ways that people post too much information. The fastest way to turn off your networking connections is to forget that LinkedIn, facebook and twitter are different venues with distinct audiences and purposes. Some people use platforms that connect all of their social media profiles so they can type one message to be distributed to each site. The problem with doing this is that it clutters up everyone else’s screen with each tweet or check-in. Most of those messages have nothing to do with professional networking. The other way people over share is by posting personal problems, questions, controversial opinions and complaints on discussion boards. One incredibly important thing to keep in mind is that what happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet.

9. Incoherent profile information
One of the easiest ways to build credibility is by demonstrating relevance to one’s target audience. The fastest route to lose credibility is to post information that hasn’t been proofread for typos, spelling and grammar issues. It sounds obvious, but many LinkedIn profiles are full of errors, contain redundant and repetitive statements and are just downright difficult to read.

10. Sending impersonal connection invitations
Making connections is a primary function on LinkedIn and there is even a quick and easy way to do so. However, far too many people appear lazy and clueless when they resort to blasting out generic connection invitations. While space is limited within LinkedIn’s invitation scheme, it is always a good idea to personalize any professional correspondence. It only takes a few moments to draft a brief note to accompany the invitation or reply to an invitation to connect.

What would you add to the list?

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies, customized communication materials and compelling personal branding campaigns to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!


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