13 things that really annoy people on LinkedIn

Almost everyone I’m in contact with through business is on LinkedIn these days (and if you’re not, you should be). It’s a brilliant, professional, online business networking site and a place where you’re expected to promote yourself through your own profile and other areas of the site. Having said that, I consistently hear people moaning about a number of things that their connections do that really annoys them.

Since my post on 18 things you should not do on Twitter was so well received, I thought I’d share my candid thoughts on what you should avoid on LinkedIn.

  1. Don’t lie — you will be found out. And it will be embarrassing. After all, look what happened to former Yahoo CEO, Scott Thompson.
  2. Don’t send an invitation to connect stating that you’re a “friend” if you don’t know the person. People hate it and won’t accept.
  3. Don’t be lazy when sending invitations to connect. I get really irritated when people can’t be bothered to write a customised message to me when asking to connect. It makes me think they’re just trying to connect to as many people as possible, rather than looking to nurture a professional relationship. Unfortunately, on some LinkedIn pages like on “People you may know” (and on an iPad and smartphone), LinkedIn sends invitations to connect, without giving people the opportunity to customise their message and without warning. Cringe! LinkedIn should fix this.
  4. Don’t forget to read a person’s profile before sending them a personal message to connect. Don’t send the same message to everyone. True story: I received an invite to connect with a message asking to meet me for a coffee to explore a potential partnership. When I wrote back saying “What do you mean by potential partnership?”, the person wrote back, apologising and admitted that they didn’t read my profile properly. I guess no coffee then?
  5. Don’t use a logo as your profile image. No exceptions. LinkedIn is a professional networking site — people to people, not people to logos. There is a different place on LinkedIn to add your company logo, overview etc. called Company Pages. Here’s an example of Firebrand’s company page.
  6. Don’t use anything other than your full name on your profile. There’s an option to use your first name only with an initial for your family name, but why would you do that? It looks suspicious. I’ve seen spammers do this often. And whilst I’m on this subject, don’t change your privacy settings to “anonymous” when you’re looking at other people’s profile. It makes them feel like someone is stalking them.
  7. Don’t boast too much. Although LinkedIn was primarily built as a business networking tool, no-one likes to see you constantly talking about yourself or your company. Every now and then is okay. Like other “social” sites, sharing interesting information you’ve found is appreciated – even if you didn’t originally find it or write it yourself. And don’t forget to credit your source.
  8. Don’t overdo your status updates. Your status updates appear in the newsfeed of all your connections, so if you are constantly adding status updates through the day, it’s going to annoy those who are regularly on LinkedIn. My personal recommendation would be a maximum of 3 per day – spaced out over time. Try using the Buffer App to schedule your updates if necessary.
  9. Don’t add ALL your tweets to your LinkedIn status update. If you share all your tweets on LinkedIn during the day, we get back to my point about over-sharing updates and it will irritate your connections. Secondly, many tweets will contain @Twitter handles, hashtags etc — This might irritate people. Having said that, LinkedIn actually picks up ‘@’ handles and links them to Twitter profiles and hashtags convert to LinkedIn searches which can be quite handy. However my advice would be to make an effort to customise what you’d like to say on LinkedIn to encourage engagement and sharing.
  10. Don’t post links or your updates to every single group you belong to. Think about what you are posting and decide which groups would be interested in what you have to say or joining in a discussion. Warning — many groups don’t like members posting links to other blogs/websites. It comes across as a promotion masquerading as discussion. Some prefer pure discussions/questions. Have a read of the group rules to make sure what you are posting is appropriate.
  11. Don’t forget to check your spelling and grammar. Think of Twitter as a “cocktail party” and LinkedIn as a business conference and customise your messaging accordingly. On LinkedIn, you are expected to use good grammar and not make spelling mistakes. And certainly, using “u” “r” or “gr8” doesn’t cut it. You can get away with this a little on Twitter because of the character limit, but trust me, you will be “professionally” judged on LinkedIn.
  12. Don’t believe all LinkedIn recommendations. Seriously, at the best of times, LinkedIn recommendations are dodgy. To quote Firebrand CEO, Greg Savage in a post he wrote on LinkedIn “How can we possibly take LinkedIn recommendations seriously when they are mostly solicited, reciprocal, and worst of all – self-published! If you don’t like what they say, even in nuance, you don’t approve it.” Most recommendations tend to be a “LinkedIn tit for tat recommendation love-in” — simply reciprocal requests. If you’re doing a reference check on someone, don’t go by their LinkedIn recommendations, call up their referees instead and ask all the right questions.
  13. Don’t add a connection’s email address to your email database without asking permission. Just because they agree to connect with you, it doesn’t mean they want to receive your email marketing. They will report you and your company as a spammer. Likewise, don’t treat LinkedIn as an email database and email your connections every bit of news you can think of. They will remove you as a connection.

Have I missed anything? Please share your LinkedIn “pet hates” as comments to this post.


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(123) Readers Comments

  1. That’s a great list, including pretty much all of my LinkedIn pet hates. Another one I would add though is where individuals use the Summary area to spruik their organisation rather than themselves. This content should be in a company profile page that they link too.

    • Thanks Erica. Yes, I’d agree with you on this. I think it might be an educational issue for LinkedIn too, as many people (if they are not marketers) don’t even realise that there is such a thing as a company page.

  2. Utterly brilliant, this should be renamed 101 for using Linkedin of which many people on the network just don’t understand.

    Though two points I would add would be appropriate images for profile, you’d be amazed how many recruiters out there have put a holiday snap of themselves getting wasted. And don’t lift copy from someone else’s profile, I’ve seen a few newbie creatives do this before from well known creatives.

    • Thanks so much, I’m really happy to hear that you think it’s useful for people. You make an excellent point about photos. I’ve seen really awful ones like people with beer or shots in their hand in a bar, as well as provocative photos etc. Wrong network for these. These people should stick to Facebook. Being a professional network, the photos should be how people wish to be seen at work. And preferably close up so that you can see their face.

    • Abhor how my profile has been blatantly plaguerized, as well as the, literal, overuse of my email address, “vision”, and company name, .”ROI” – following a decade of relative obscurity.

    • What really irritates me on Linkedin is seeing someone post a job only to have 15 or 20 idiot savants answer with “I am available, look at my profile” or words to that effect, even if a recruiter post their email address you still get the “Look at my profile” comments, I think that this is very unprofessional, and if I
      were the recruiter I would bin these people immediately….

  3. Great follow-up to the Twitter post Carolyn!

    I am not worried about people not personalising their requests to connect if it is someone you know reasonably well. It’s more important if the request is to someone who is an acquaintance, and may need some context to remind or explain who you are.

    I’d also add one more: don’t start a group with the express intention of it being a place to spam out your job ads or e-marketing. Groups are places for genuine knowledge sharing and discussion, not thinly veiled promotion.

    And if you do start a group, be vigilant about removing content that falls into the spam category – this will show others it’s not okay, and ensure the group members don’t get annoyed and leave.

    • Thanks for commenting Belinda. I totally agree with both your points about LinkedIn groups. Particularly management of groups. I’ve had to leave LinkedIn groups because I couldn’t stand sifting through the “spam” discussions. I manage a group myself and it is not hard to moderate, as long as it is done regularly. eg every day. Especially if it is an open group.

  4. Don’t ‘endorse’ people for skills they don’t have, in fact I am not sure anyone should use the new endorsement functionality at all, it seems all a bit fluff to me.

    • Hi Danielle, it’s a good one. Quite frankly, I think it’s just too easy to abuse the new “endorsement’ system, just like the tit-for-tat LinkedIn recommendations.

      • Per Machiavelli, even princes are judged by those who surround them. There is nothing unreasonable about legitimacy on both sides of reciprocal endorsements. Birds-of-a-feather are frequently found together. In times of increasing technical specialization, few can accurately judge broad and deep expertise

      • Totally agree

    • I totally agree Danielle. The new endorsement option is a waste of space. These endorsements have no value. I have received endorsements from all sorts of contacts for a whole range of skills most of which I have not delivered for those contacts.

    • I was endorsed for coaching by someone I know and I don’t coach! I say if you are going to endorse someone, you should have the professional courtesy to endorse them for a product or service they actual offer. My perception now is their credibility took a hit.

  5. 14. Don’t confuse LinkedIn with Facebook. Don’t post personal messages or use personal photos of your family in your profile.

    • Oh gosh Kate. Have you actually seen people do that? I’ve certainly seen some dubious photos – what are people thinking?

  6. I think it is wrong to characterize recommendations as solicited or fake because as in my case, my former VP/CTO took invaluable time to provide his opinion and who himself is on LinkedIN. Also as the writer said himself, don’t lie you will be found out. So I strongly disagree with most of his points and suggest if he doesn’t like the service as LinkedIN has created it, either be a part of creatively changing it with the company or et off the site. After all its easy to be a critic, it’s challenging to make value added change happen

    • It’s also easy to look at the huge profile of the author right next to the post, and realise it has been written by a female. And yet…

  7. Carolyn

    Excellent post (wish I had written it!).

    As a group owner, I would add 14. “Don’t spam groups with links to your blog posts – ‘Discussion’ means just that, not ‘Hey, look at my latest blog post!’. Pointing to a post to illustrate your point is fine but do your fellow group members the courtesy of framing a discussion topic, so that they can discuss without having to go and visit your blog and lift your visitor rate. If you can write a blog post you can craft a sentence for a discussion.”

    I would not condemn all recommendations. With all the millions of recommendations, what evidential base does Greg Savage, or anyone for that matter, to state that “they are mostly solicited, reciprocal, and worst of all – self-published!”? “mostly”? How does he know.

    ‘Solicited’ is just a fancy word for saying the person asked someone for a recommendation, although I know the word has less salubrious connotations and perhaps that is why he chose it.

    ‘Reciprocal’ – that’s bad? I always repaying one good deed with another was what we were taught to do in good families.

    ‘Self published’? I know some people recommend writing the recommendation for someone else to give you, but I think that takes a special kind of chutzpah and anyway I find that people write much more complimentary recommendations for me than I would write for myself.

    People for generations have asked former employers for referrals, prospective employers ask candidates for referrals. And any of us who have spent any time reading or listening to referrals for prospective employees learn fairly quickly the difference between a thoughtful, helpful referral and puff. Sometimes I’ve had to learn that the hard way! LinkedIn recommendations are no different – some provide valuable insight about capability and character and some are useless, and all stages in between. They are at best a guide, not the full story. But no less valuable for that.

    So Carolyn, my version of #12, if you must retain it, would be something like: Don’t believe all LinkedIn recommendations

    • You know what Des, you’re right. I’m going to alter it to say “all”. After all, I have a recommendation from my boss, Firebrand global ceo Greg Savage, that is absolutely 100% authentic and very, very powerful. Thanks for taking the time to give me your input.

      • Glad you found it helpful, Carolyn

        • Like your/Firebrands list Christine with the exception of the recommendation comment – agree with Des and others comment-ers on that but had 2 further thoughts that may be useful:
          1. Just as we validate references, before hiring someone so we should validate recommendations – eg you suggest, “call up their referees instead and ask all the right questions”, aren’t referees self selected (ie self published) too? Just as written reference are. So ask candidates if you can talk to their recommenders
          2. Personally I prefer reading a bunch of recommendations from 3rd party professionals about someone rather than read that individual ‘blowing their own trumpet’ – to me this aspect of using recommendations as your resume is the key difference between the historical paper resume and the linkedin version

  8. Great article Carolyn, looks like your social media research has truly paid off! =)


    • Thanks Jesz. It’s true, I did quite a bit of research for this article – on LinkedIn mostly. There’s a lot to be said for crowdsourcing (in other words, research). At the very least, it confirmed that what I was writing was exactly how others felt.

  9. Don’t solicit 10 times a day. Once a day is bad enough….

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  11. I have to agree with Des Walsh (above).

    LinkedIn recommendations “are mostly solicited” – errr, yes, the website itself provides a mechanism for that to happen. It is no different from asking, 15-20 years ago, for a typed and printed letter of recommendation from your old boss, colleague or client. Without people asking me for a reco via LinkedIn, sometimes 8 years after I last worked with them, it’s hardly likely that I am going to know of their need for a testimonial, or provide one spontaneously at just the right moment. None of us are mind readers, surely.

    Most of the “reciprocal” ones I have written have NOT been requested for by the person in question. It just seemed natural to want to return the favour by investing 15-20 minutes of my own time in return for them having done the same for me. I don’t always write one in return, but on the occasions that I have, it has not felt like a “love-in” or “love-fest”. Remember that our own credibility is at stake, too.

    “And worst of all – self-published”. I am not entirely clear what Mr Savage meant, but his further sentence indicates it’s to the effect that people refuse to publish a reco with even nuances of something less than positive. Thus he’s objecting to the power not to publish, more accurately.

    Hmmmm. You try wasting a connection’s time on a reco which you then refuse to use at all. I’ve never done that, not sure many have. Nor are many people brazen enough to ask for repeated rewrites to buff the requested reco to a brilliant shine, for the same reason – you don’t want relationships to be strained, and it just seems desperate.

    Quite a number of the 13 points you’ve listed are valuable, but your statement that: “Seriously, at the best of times, LinkedIn recommendations are dodgy” does seem like a considerable overstatement. Unless this “dodginess” just underlines while we need the more perceptive eyes of professional talent recruiters like Firebrand : )

    • Thanks for taking the time to give me your input. I really appreciate it. I won’t dissect it all, but I will add a couple of notes from my previous experiences. I’ve asked for a recommendation from someone in the past – and they actually told me to write it myself, give it to them and they would send it… huh? Needless to say, I didn’t follow through. I’ve also had to get back to a person who wrote a recommendation, asking them to correct their spelling mistakes. A little awkward.

      Having said this, Des is right. Not all recommendations are bogus. In fact, many are totally well deserved and authentic. But not all.

      I’d be keen to hear what you think about the new LinkedIn endorsements – worthwhile or easy to manipulate?

  12. Poor recruiters who add me, or add me and send me un-targeted jobs when they clearly haven’t even read my profile. It is a shame because I would in theory like to be connected to good marketing recruiters who I might work with in the future but so many of them are using very poor practices.

    Recruiters who spam job updates all over their feed.

    People who email business requests/sales pitches that are clearly a one to all!

    • Aimee, I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had such a bad experience with recruiters. The really good ones (and there are great, specialist marketing recruiters – I’d like to think that Firebrand is such) will take the time to get to know you – face-to-face and will contact you personally when a job comes up that is totally suitable for what you are looking for. They’ll also know that “no news” is news to you.

      And as for those people who send bulk messages/sales pitches on LinkedIn – delete!

    • This is the very reason I’ve been considering removing myself from LinkedIn! Not a day goes by where I don’t receive an unsolicited email from either a Recruiter/Headhunter or a Vendor.

      Quite frequently the chronology breaks down similar to this:

      – 9:00 AM – My desk phone rings, but since my Caller ID says “Operator”, I know that someone called our main number and asked to be transferred to be (because they don’t have my direct number).
      – 9:01 AM – My voice mail light comes on, indicating that the caller left a message for me.
      – 9:03 AM – I receive an email (or, more annoyingly, a MEETING INVITATION!) from a random Sales Rep, stating that they are “following up on their message”.
      – 9:04 AM – I check my voice mail – yep, it’s the same person.

      – 9:05 AM – I check LinkedIn, and find that the same person sent a message to me on LinkedIn, then immediately called to try to reach me (based upon my employer info on LinkedIn), then immediately followed up with a separate email to me at work (because they are already familiar with the email address format of my company, so they simply insert my name).

  13. This post is the hot water discovery!!

    • I’m not entirely sure what you mean, but I hope it’s good :)

  14. This is really good and as a relatively new person to Linked In – I am grateful for this info. I will take it on board immediately.

    I have sent the normal message on Linked In – but you are right, it is about building a professional relationship.

    Thank you

    • I’m very happy to hear that Lee. Thanks for letting me know you found it useful.

  15. The thing that bugs me most with LinkedIn is when you accept an invitation from someone you’ve just met at a conference or networking event (often accompanied by a message like “Great to meet you today. Let’s connect on LinkedIn to stay in touch) and then within the hour they’ve sent you their CV and are asking for a job. Or worse, they ask you to send their CV to all your connections!

    • That can be irritating David. I definitely think that it would better to be upfront and ask you whether you know someone who can help them find a job – at the event – rather than online in my opinion. Unless of course, discretion is needed. I’ll add that it is definitely a “chutzpah” to ask you to send their CV to your connections… I can’t even imagine when that would be an appropriate thing to do!

  16. Number three is my biggest pet peeve. It is social media, be social and please personalize the message.

  17. I agree personalized messages are important. Why would someone you don’t know want to connect without that and why would someone you do know but haven’t been in touch with for a long time necessarily be interested without that. I also agree the linked in function that allows connection requests to be sent off without allowing you to personalize is disconcerting. On recommendations I agree with those who consider it generally polite to offer reciprocals and to generally treat them as you would any written reference…bearing in mind that most people would I think consider their own reputations before writing something dubious.

  18. Thanks Carolyn, I’m a relatively new user to LinkedIn so your list of pet peeves is a great way for me to learn a bit more about it. :)

    I’ve had a basic profile page up for a while, but never really been bothered to fill it out properly or completely. Ironically, it was when I received a notification from a friend that she’d endorsed me on LinkedIn for a set of skills I would never claim, that drew me into using it more; mainly to set the record straight!

    So while I think the new endorsement feature could be valuable (if used correctly), I also think it has a rather large potential to mislead and for people to “mass endorse” without really knowing what a persons specialities and skills are.

    • I’m happy to hear that you found the tips helpful Jade. I’d recommend that you use the LinkedIn Wizard and get your profile 100% complete. I certainly share your doubts about LinkedIn Endorsements…

  19. Excellent. Great list and I hope everyone reads it! Especially Point 3. Truly bad form not to write anything and no introduction, especially if you do not know the person!

  20. Agree that people should look at their photos … but there are differences between being a CEO of a multinational company and perhaps a self employed plumber.

    If you write recommendations then you may be judged by what you have written too. I have (gently) declined to write people references as I knew them too long ago and not well enough.

    Please don’t post too many things in a day. Though if you have the same message to get genuinely to different groups, how to do this best…?

    • Hi Richard. If you want to write the same message as the title for your LinkedIn discussions, and it’s appropriate for multiple groups, it’s pretty easy to do (and quick) using the LinkedIn share plug-in on a post. There’s a checkbox called “share to group/s” and you just need to type in all the names of the groups you want to post on. Otherwise if you want to customise your message for each job (recommended), you’ll need to do it the long way, through the LinkedIn groups section.

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  22. Hi Carolyn,

    Good article which really summarises my pet peeves.

    Interesting food for thought on recommendations and endorsements.
    I tend to trust the recommendations as much as I do any ‘unknown third party’ recommendation, which means I take with a grain of salt and also look for what was left out.
    As for endorsements, I am surprised by the strength of negative reaction to them. Without having looked into them, I perceive them as a tool created by LI to ‘assist’ recruiters by enabling quick summary of how much someone is trusted. As such, if I’m looking for work can I afford not to have them? (Appreciate that you may prefer to take the longer, harder, better quality path of speaking to someone and their referees, but not all recruiters do and unfortunately there’s no way of knowing which recruiter has the job I want!)

    • Glad you liked it Bridget. The problem with LinkedIn endorsements is that they can be so easily manipulated. It’s also easy for people to click “endorse” on other people’s skills, without really knowing how good that person is… BTW, are you looking for a job? Something Firebrand can help you with? If yes, feel free to be in touch (@chyams)

  23. Separate issue, but while your post focuses on what not to do on LI, someone in another LI group I belong to posted a link to this comprehensive list of what you should do. It may be useful for someone here other than me!


    • Bridget, this is such a great LinkedIn article, I’ve shared it with everyone I know. Thanks so much for highlighting it.

  24. All great points and one I’d like to add regarding groups: don’t “like” every single group post! I’ve seen this in action and not quite sure how to handle it. It clutters up the “all updates” feed and is annoying – do you really have to like every single post?

    • Thanks Wil. Your comment really makes me wonder whether they’re trying to manipulate LinkedIn so that they are named “Top Influencer this week” in the Linkedin Group. Not sure if LinkedIn’s algorithms take this into account or not. Either way, I bet it’s irritating.

  25. Hmm… I hadn’t thought of that, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, as they never show up in that Top Influencer list (thankfully!).

  26. Agree with so many about 2 & 3 — don’t state you’re a friend if you’re not and send a customised message! (1 would seem so damn obvious with Scott Thompson and Lance Armstrong — marketing backfire! — however…)

    I got an invitation from a “friend”, a DJ in Central America right after I connected with one of his connections (now I like Bob Marley, but..!). Another time, I was left shaking my head in amazement when I rang someone who’d sent me a (template) invitation, and he expressed such surprise that I’d picked up the phone and wanted to know about his business!

    Have to say I’ve become far more judicious in accepting connections of late. Three (template again) ones sitting in my in-box are most likely to be dumped — why do they want to connect with me?? Because we share connections? My house shares a road with other people’s houses … doesn’t mean I want to live with them all!

    I was surprised at the new endorsement process, but have to say I’ve been delighted with completely unsolicited ones! (And no spelling boo-boos to correct, which, being a copywriter, bug me as well.:) )

    What’s also ticked me off Carolyn, is when I’ve hit the “accept” button and written back a note. Silence. Didn’t you want to connect? Or is it as you wrote, that they just want to get their numbers up?

    Great post.
    (Had to giggle at the comment on Oct 2 by Alan… good response Belinda!)

    • Just to clarify, when I wrote “didn’t you want to connect”, I was picturing the faces associated with some of the template invitations I mentioned!

      I should have said “didn’t THEY want to connect”… :)

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  28. I enjoyed your list. But, I have to ask: Is number 11 a test or are you really British?

    Working in the world of “customizing” printed forms, statistical tables, corporate reports, etc. where correct syntax, correct word AND word use (you know – fore, four, for example), and spelling meant the difference in getting paid for the job or not, I chuckled at your use/spelling of customise. To a patriot of the U.S.A. it looks wrong in several ways.

    1. To me the spelling is wrong for native English language speaking Americans’ usage.
    2. Since many ads on TV use British speaking voices, you even hear Aussies’ intonations for auto-attendents, in movies and television programming, and the easy adoption of British based words, phrases, and even slang, I say leave it to the British to murder their form of English and leave our American version alone!!!
    3. Foreign speakers have also changed our true English “s” sound to a sliding “z” sound, e.g. grease pronounced as “greeze” that drives me crazy. I’m assuming this is mostly mid-european and slavic based languages. I’ll have to talk to someone from Berlitz and ask them. So, are you foreign? If so your comments are all the more interesting.

    So, I find it amusing for its misuse and/or misspelling but irritating when someone complains about language usage while nonchallantly miss speling there words; not tooo mention punchewation! Get it?

    • Hi Bob. Thanks for making such an effort to explain your passion for spelling and grammar. I am actually South African, but I’m an adopted Australian. Most countries outside of the US using “s” instead of “z”, so the spelling is only incorrect if you live in the US (which you do, so please forgive me). As for my grammar… that’s certain to be a universal mistake :)

  29. Try to avoid starting sentences with ‘Seriously.’ So – everything else you wrote was crap? Try avoid using the expression ‘Trust me’, you sound like an Eighties Amway Double-Diamond-Direct dork with bling and big hair. Try to avoid tautologies like ‘My personal recommendation'; you sound like a used car salesman. Try… oh, never mind.

  30. Great article – thanks!

  31. Great article Carolyn. The only thing I would add to it is the use of appropriate images in their profile. It’s a professional networking site not Facebook where people post photos with their friends or family. And lastly plagiarism is a big no! Do not cut and paste copy from others pages.

  32. Carolyn,

    Thanks for a great post and also to all who have added with comments. I was reminded of my pet peeve on LinkedIn about 15 minutes ago and then googled it to see if I was alone. After reading your post and responses maybe I am alone !! (Apologies if I missed it in one of the posts).

    I hate it when I accept a person’s request to connect and then they have (somehow) hidden their connections from me (I can only see connections in common). I can’t even see where this can be done (and I have been using LinkedIn for a long-time). It just seems like it is not a genuine thing to do. I enjoy looking through someones connections to see who I might know. A coupe of times I have seen people in a connection’s list that I haven’t seen in years and has encouraged me to connect.

    Is this just me ?



    • Hi,

      Re: Fiona’s comment. I have hidden my contacts as I’m happy to be connected to recruiters – as it can be useful if I want to know of jobs or if I need personnel to be able to get in contact with people who work in my area. But, I’ve sometimes found recuiters then go and spam all my business contacts and then ask for connections and this does irritate some of my connections.

      I’d personally like the ability to categorise connections to be able to allow close busines connections the ability to see all my contacts – but people who I am less close with have less access to my connections. But I guess that would be against the concept of LinkedIn.


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  36. What annoys me is people who complain about what annoys them.

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  38. Carolyn,
    Great article, especially for the LinkedIn newbies. Only thing I would add to list is that I think users should be able to disable the “endorsements” feature altogether. Oftentimes, people who don’t know you endorse you for skills you either haven’t posted to your profile, or even worse, that you may not even possess. How useful is that? In my opinion, personal thoughtful recommendations are more effective, even if taken with a grain of salt.
    Thanks for sharing your perspective,

    • Ronnie, you have a good point. If someone endorses you for something ridiculous, it would be great to be able to hide it. Though I understand why LinkedIn has introduced endorsements, I think it is another way for people to help refine LinkedIn profiles without LinkedIn having to do it themselves.

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  40. The very worst thing I see people do is block their network from being viewed by their connections. This screams ‘I don’t trust the people I’ve chosen to include in my network’, and ‘I’m only interested in what I can get from you and not giving any thought as to what I can do for you’, given that 95%+ people I’ve connected to have open networks.
    I’ve heard that some people make up a complete database out of someone else’s LinkedIn network. As I’ve now got more than 2,000 people included in my network, it’s something I’ve been thinking about lately. I don’t want any of them to be spammed because they’ve joined my network. Ideally LinkedIn would make it possible to block some people from viewing connections and not others – I’d block all those who have blocked their own list, from viewing mine. I have learned in business it’s always wise to distrust those who display immediate distrust of others, and prefer give & take relationships rather than one-way streets.

  41. Carolyn, I almost never review these kinds of entries so responding to them is all the more rare. But I was impressed with the article itself (thorough, practical, concise, personalized, etc.) and even more so with the way in which you responded to comments. You don’t often see others keep up with responses as frequently, admit mistakes, handle criticisms nor communicate as effectively. Just wanted to let you know. Thanks for sharing this, as it helped with some LinkedIn challenges I’m facing.

    • Hi Eliot
      That is such nice feedback to receive, I really appreciate it. The way I figure it, if people make the effort to write a comment (and it does take effort), then I should make the effort to respond. Thank you very much. Glad the post was helpful too. If you need any Twitter tips, I’ve got a great post on it too (bit of rant, but with a sense of humour). All the best, Carolyn (@chyams)

  42. People use the site for different reasons. I personally try to read in between the lines, say for instance people who’s links are 80% linked to agencies suggesting their primary reason for being there……

  43. Great checklist of what not to do. Went through my profile and have recalibrated some of my thoughts as to what should be done on LinkedIn. Thanks for the tips.

  44. Thank you for such an informative article, Carolyn! I’m fairly new to LinkedIn, so this was very useful. :0)

    To add, it is appropriate, professional, and polite to send a prompt, brief “Thank You!”
    note to the people who have taken the time to write a recommendation and/or endorse one’s skills! My recommendation and endorsements were a pleasant surprise! They were unexpected and came at a good time, as my self-confidence had taken a serious nose-dive, so they were all the more appreciated! :0)

    By the way, I did have a chuckle about an earlier comment about your anglicised spelling – I was born in the U.S., but brought up and educated in England – Mum’s English, Dad’s Australian. Although I’ve been living/working in the U.S. (for the most part) for many years now, I still “struggle” with the differences in spelling certain words in the two versions of English language. Even after all these years, the U.S. spelling still does not look or seem quite right to me. Lol!

    Thanks, again!

    • Hi Simone
      I totally agree with you about thanking people for recommendations and even endorsements. The endorsements usually take me by surprise, and for the people I know, I don’t hesitate to thank them. (For the people I don’t know, it still perplexes me that they endorse me). I have to admit, I’ve had a bit of a giggle myself at some of the comments (THAT one especially), although most comments have been absolutely fantastic. Great feedback and I always appreciate the effort people make to provide extra info in their comments.

  45. The one about posting your own blog posts and the “Hey everyone, look at what we are doing” in a group makes me crazy. Honestly, I find a majority of the postings in groups pretty much spam these days. As an example, I joined a group recently and I swear to you 95% of them are basically ads trying to pose as “articles’. The headline asks a question and lo’ and behold, the person posting just so happens to work for the company that can solve your problem! Imagine that?! As far as recommendations, mine were written by my clients. We asked them to do so only if they wanted to and they did, so I agree, the recommendations are not always dodgy. Overall, however, I agree with pretty much everything other point you made.

    • Hi Jessica. I totally hear you about group posts. Let me ask you this though – what if your company does have an interesting and relevant post that would be perfect for the target audience in the LinkedIn group? I say post it. What do you think?

  46. There are so many good comments here, and I might have missed one or two, so I hope I’m not being repetitive, but I don’t think people should discuss their political or religious views on LinkedIn.

    Like our parents told us, these are the two subjects that are most likely to ruin any social event. If you wear your politics on your sleeve and denigrate those who disagree with you, I’ll probably drop you as a connection even if I’m on your side. I just don’t think it’s good form to have these kinds of conversations in a business environment.

  47. My current peeve on LinkedIn is having someone endorse a skill for me when we have never met, much less worked together. How are they going to respond if someone contacts them to ask about me? It’s going to make us both look bad. If you don’t have direct, positive experience with someone relevant to the skill, please don’t endorse them. It’s not a favor.

    • I must admit, I find the endorsement by strangers really odd.

    • Sorry, just picked up this article after a google search for some LI info. Really interesting. To answer this pecific point, I think the reason that people get recommendations from others they don;t really know is because of the practise on LI of offering payback on recommendations when you accept one, and it shows a block of 4 at a time with the ‘recommend all’ button at the bottom. That button should not be there. I’ll admit, I accidently clicked it once myself and recommended 4 people who I can’t remember for 4 skills I have no idea about.

      • Yes, that button is quite dangerous. Not only will the person who you endorsed shake their head at why it was done, people who look at your profile will see who you endorsed.

  48. I too have taken some time to read through most of the comments and agree with a lot of them. I agree with the 13 things and would just add that I believe that when you post anything on the internet, no matter what site, you have to expect that everyone will be able to see and/or read it. You can’t take it back. Therefore, be honest and genuine. Stay professional and respectful. Thank you for sharing, I plan to share with others as well. These are great guidelines.

    • Hi Kelly, in this day and age, it constantly surprises me that people still don’t realise that what is online is visible to anyone looking, including prospective employers. People need to guard their personal brand online and treat it with respect, otherwise others won’t.

  49. I would say No.10 is something to consider. I think it is OK to post an update to several groups, but… what about those people who are, for example, members of ALL those groups? They get a loooong list of the same update, which looks like persistent spamming.
    Great article!

  50. Bidget,

    Thanks for the link above. The URL has changed so here is the up to date link:




  51. I may be repeating another comment because I did not read them all.

    My p’pet hate’ on LinkedIn… people who treat it like Twitter or Facebook, posting a lot of personal ‘crap’ like how annoying rush hour traffic is, or what they ate for lunch, etc. This is a PROFESSIONAL networking site. I visit to post and read about professional stuff. This goes back to numbers 8 & 9… edit your sharing appropriately.

  52. I appreciate this list of dos and don’ts. I would also like to say that I find the endorsement system to be useless. I’ve had LinkeIn members endorse me for skills when they have no clue how good my skills actually are. If I have worked with you and demonstrated my expertise in that area, then fine. But don’t endorse my basketweaving skills if you’ve never actually seen me make a basket…just using that example. I’m not a basketweaver and I mean no disrespect to people who are.

  53. That’s a lot of don’t for what are, let’s face it, some pretty trivial things to be getting upset about. Many of us don’t like having to go to work and don’t share your work effort. We’re still good at what we don and we get paid well for it, but we’re out to be popular. We’re just there doing what needs to be done to support our families.

    So tell me, is there anything you are permitted to do on Linked IN? Apart from flattering yourselves all day with how popular and successful you are, of course.

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  56. My pet hate is having photos of people I can’t stand constantly show up under People You May Know. I would rather re-name it People I Would Rather Not Know.

    • Amen! And what about people who want to connect with you that you’d rather never show up in your connections because others might think you approve of them? Lie about knowing them? Deny the connection and have it get back to them you shunned them? I wonder if I’m alone in thinking connection is tacit approval….

  57. Recognizable points mentioned here. If I speak for myself, I’d like to add the repeated ‘inspiring’ statements of some who apparently believe they are the Confucius of this time. Open doors like: “Approach every sales pitch in a way you yourself would be like to be treated”.
    What is the purpose of this philosophers posting and why he/she thinks I am waiting for this?
    I have actually removed connections for this reason.

  58. One of my biggest annoyances is when I get a message from somebody I don’t know, asking me to recommend them. I’m happy to recommend many people I’ve worked with, but these are mass mailings from people I’ve never met, and they know that.

    • Hi David. That same thing happened to me this week for the first time. I simply couldn’t believe that this person wanted a recommendation and I had never met them, never mind having never worked with them. I simply responded and said that I could not recommend them as it would be dishonest. That was the end of that.

  59. I am getting endorsements from people I never heard of and have not agreed to be in my Linked network. They are mostly useless because they do not reflect what I do and I am not looking for work. I have tried to unsubscribe from notices of endorsements but they keep coming.

    I rarely use Linked except to find someone I’d like to communicate with.

    And to top it off, I get requests from people who are looking for my wife and when I get a request from someone I am willing to approve, they are Lined to my wife’s account, not me even though she is signed out of our computer.The email requests came to me! .

    So Linked has become nearly useless. I just want to opt out.

  60. I have personel experience of fraudsters using this site linkedin
    What can be done to ensure professional people use this site appropiately

    • Hi Stuart, unfortunately not much can be done as the profiles are user-generated. There might be a “report this profile’ option somewhere?

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  63. Hi Carolyn,

    One pet peeve I haven’t seen yet but that I certainly have, is that of former colleagues (or basically anyone) that don;t change their title & employernwhen they have left.
    Surely I do not expect you to change it the first day after you’ve left, but 1.5 years later it might just be the right time (or just plain overdue).

    There are plenty of options you could use; mention youre a volunteer (if you really are), between jobs, looking for a new opportunity, working for yourself or whatever is appropriate.
    Even creativity like ‘Mike X > is making time for you to have a coffee’ is better than claiming your still working for a company you are not.

    Or am I just too harsh or straightforward here?

    • Naomi, I’m a little perplexed about this issue myself. I guess if someone has left the company (not by their choice), they probably don’t want people to see a gap on their résumé and leave the company details in unless they find their next gig. This is a bit dishonest. I think 3 months is okay. Anything longer is pushing it.

      You know what annoys me even more? People who start new jobs, but don’t update LinkedIn profiles to reflect this.

  64. Great discussion!

    What bugs me is when I connect with someone and the first thing I get is an email asking me for their ‘opinion’ which turns out to be a survey or something that helps them but takes up my time.

    Now you don’t want to be nasty and report them – I just wish folk would truely add value to a new connection instead of always being so damn needy.

    I believe that you should add value to your connections if you are going to contact them – always think ‘what’s in it for them’ before you send anything.

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  68. These are terrific tips! Even further, if you are attempting to grow your own LinkedIn group, PLEASE think before sending out invitations. I get an automatic tweet from so many who set up their groups and before posting any content or designing it, they expect members to jump in and participate. That’s not a good way to start out. It’s like the empty restaurant – no one is going to sit down for the meal. For even more tips on growing your own successful LinkedIn group (as I did) check out some tips you can use in addition to the ones so eloquently posted here already.

    Nixon Virtual Strategies

  69. Frankly our workplace(a mining site/smelter) has had no end of spam emails flying around that have cluttered up the inboxes of all involved. DO NOT let LinkedIn get at your contacts or it appears to let loose and spam everyone in there without further ado. Very annoying and embarrassing. I learnt my lesson a couple of years ago and promptly removed it from my devices, but others on our site obviously have been making the same mistake( simply using LinkedIn ) in the last few months. Personally I am of the opinion we are better off without it, as it was never used for true networking, just heaps of spam from desperates in Third World countries.

  70. The worst thing people do on LinkedIn is firing all those supposedly ‘profound’ in reality cliche quotations around. That idiotic one by Branson about learning to do something later is the worst. We can’t all sell records illegally first and then get our mums to bail us out.

  71. I would like to know why I get emails stating that, “Your contact John Doe etc has just joined LinkedIn. Click here to connect with them.” and I have no clue who these individuals are. They are not in any of my contacts so why does this happen?
    I love the list it’s all very true and I have found myself guilty of asking to add a person to my network and never sent an explanation why. I will be certain to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
    Thank you.

  72. Is it a bad idea to send someone a thank you email for linkedIn with you?

    • Not at all. It’s a nice idea, but so that you don’t waste the person’s time, I would recommend that you make that thank you email as useful and personal as possible, rather than just a thank you.

  73. I agree!

  74. Big Question:

    I wonder why certain few people who I have worked with in the past have usually had up the very nice recommendations I had about them, but than after sometime it is no longer seen?

    This kind of has gotten to me as I don’t understand why it would be taken down and why anybody would ever take down a glowing recommendation describing them?

    • Hi Sam, I think there might be a limit to how many recommendations are immediately visible. Maybe they’ve gone down in the queue? Can’t think of any other reason.

  75. I take my time an investing in learning about every person I contact with and customising every invitation and email. While all add me, non respond to an email and I’m not trying to sell or talk about myself, just learn from them or ask if I can assist.
    I’m wondering why will a person add you in the never going to be in touch with you.

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