Mistakes you should never make on LinkedIn

Mistakes you should never make on LinkedIn

James Johnston 02.03.2017

I am often asked "Why am I not being headhunted?" The simple answer probably lies in the quality of your LinkedIn profile.

There are some basic steps to follow if you wish to be "seen" more clearly, yet do not give the game away that you might be potentially looking for a new role.


One of the biggest mistakes is having no photo. Research has shown that you are seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have one. Stick to professional photos only. Selfies from a recent boat party in Ibiza will not portray a good first impression.  Like a house that’s on sale, the assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong.

Status Update

Keep your LinkedIn status updated. Just as you would share your social accomplishments via Twitter or Facebook it's important to update your network about your professional accomplishments and progress. It shows that you are active and engaged.

Making Connections

Do not use the standard connection request. Remember that you are using LinkedIn to build valuable professional relationships to leverage into career opportunities. Even if you’re reaching out to someone you've never met, the right move is to do a little research on that person, and tailor your connection request.  

Privacy Settings

Do not neglect the privacy settings! I often overhear consultants huffing and puffing as they discover several job seekers (especially graduates and interns) do not seem to realise that LinkedIn does have privacy settings, and for a valid reason. When you’re out looking for a new job, and are actively engaged in your current job, you want to be discreet. Having 20 new connections to recruiters appear on your manager's news feed will start alarm bells ringing!


Do not skip the summary! The summary section is your opportunity to sell yourself in your own words. Since so many people are competing for the same jobs with similar educations and qualifications, filling out the summary can give you an edge with a prospective employer. In addition, since headhunters will use keywords to locate your profile, having a really relevant summary, SEO'd to match your industry can put your profile at the top of the results page!

Employment History

Do not remove past employment history! Even if you’ve changed fields, your latest job isn’t the only important one. You might have been a C++ developer in your previous role which could still make you a perfect candidate for a new role, even if you have changed to a new programming language recently. Jobs are always evolving and candidates with varied backgrounds often appeal more to employers.


Not displaying or asking for recommendations: This is one area that I see easily fall through the cracks. Yet it is one of the most valuable tools in building up your credibility in the job marketplace. You have to be proactive about asking for recommendations, following up, and keeping on top of them. Recommendations can be from anyone: bosses, colleagues, or anyone who has collaborated with you and benefited from your skills or advice.

James Johnston's picture
Senior Consultant | Marketing Recruitment