LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes

LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes

As arguably the most powerful and professional networking tool of the moment, LinkedIn needs to be used correctly, and the word ‘professional’ is the key here – you must use it professionally as well as in a professional context.

Just as you would with any face-to- face relationship, you must ensure that you are approaching LinkedIn in the correct way for your networking and job searching endeavours whilst adopting ‘LinkedIn etiquette’.

Make sure you avoid becoming a LinkedIn outcast by abiding by 7 essential rules of LinkedIn etiquette for your professional networking and international job search.

1. Updating your profile

It might sound like an obvious point to make, but keeping your profile updated is oftentimes overlooked. It is very important to ensure that your profile represents you and your experiences correctly and that they are up-to-date. If you’ve just started a new job or position then you must update your profile with this information. This will help you to grow connections and ensure that your profile represents you in the correct light.

Every couple of months you should go through your profile and update it where possible. Even if you haven’t changed jobs you most likely will have worked on an interesting project, so add this (along with a brief description) to your profile. Cleaning up your profile is also important, so check to see if there are any redundant sections on your public profile – remove any not-so-important experiences and projects, ensuring that more important and more recent ones are on show.

2. Ensure you have a recent (and professional looking) profile picture

Your profile picture is an important part of your profile as it’s the most visually impacting part, showing your connections (and the public, depending on your privacy settings) what you look like. It is essential to update a good quality picture that looks professional, or at the very least looks good and relevant – a picture of you smiling on holiday is acceptable, but a picture of you enjoying a drink or sunbathing on the beach is not so acceptable.

If you don’t have a professional picture of yourself then get a colleague to take one for you next time you’re at work. It only takes a moment and will ensure that your profile is looking great!

3. Keeping your updates relevant

LinkedIn has a great update feature allowing you to keep your connections up-to-date with your whereabouts and latest news, as well as keeping you up-to-date on your connections’ updates.

You should ensure you keep your connections updated with relevant updates on a regular basis, at least 1-2 times per week. Whilst the occasional fun and light-hearted update is considered to be OK, be careful not to post too many irrelevant updates and pictures as not to annoy your connections. Be sure to post updates about industry news, any relevant discussions you want to start and any important updates about your job – you could even inform people of a networking event you’re going to and encourage your connections to meet you there for a catch-up.

4. Don’t overshare

This applies to both your own updates / content and your connections’ updates. Be careful not to post too often and don’t ‘like’ and share every update that you read in your daily feed. The reason for this is that your connections can see every update of yours, from profile updates to new connections, status updates to others’ updates that you have liked all within their own feed, so be careful not to be that person that ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ everything you find.

Keep your interactions regular but limited, be sure to interact, ‘like’ and share anything that is of importance or general interest every couple of days to keep your connections up to speed with your goings on.

5. Don’t send out mass requests endorsements or recommendations

Whilst it is important to have a good number of endorsements and recommendations for each of your experiences listed on your public LinkedIn profile don’t overdo it. Be sure to have 3 – 5 good recommendations for each experience listed, but try not to have any more than that visible. It is important to also limit your requests for such endorsements and recommendations. Be sure to ask a past or present colleague for a recommendation in exchange for one, but once requested, do not request again – at least not for a while, as the individual might not have had a chance to read your request, or maybe they’re not interested in exchanging recommendations.

6. Personalise your connection requests

LinkedIn is constantly trying to get its users to make new connections, and whilst this is a good idea, it is important to personalise your requests. When you connect with a user you have the option to enter a personalised message or use the pre-made one that LinkedIn has created. This is a perfect opportunity to personalise your request and inform the individual of who you are, what you do and why would like to connect with them.

Many users view LinkedIn as a much more personal social media network than others, and whilst used for professional purposes they don’t like to aimlessly connect with random individuals who they don’t know and have no reason to connect with them. So, it is important to be transparent and state your reasons for requesting this connection. Let the individual know your intentions and you may well find yourself having a higher success rate with your connections and future correspondences with them.

7. Don’t just limit your connections to people you know personally

Whilst it isn’t so important to add a personalised message to your connection requests for many people that you know – your friend or colleague doesn’t need a personal message with their connection request – for others it is, namely those that you either don’t know or haven’t connected with on a personal basis in a long time. These are the individuals who you should start to consider connecting with on LinkedIn.

There are many people that we could benefit from being connected to on LinkedIn (and visa versa) so it is important to reach out to them. Be careful not to over connect with people, ensure that you have a valid reason for wanting to connect with them and state it in your personalised connection request.


Following these steps will help you to make better and stronger connections, allow you to grow an engaged following – rather than just a collection of professionals that you never speak to – and help you to strengthen your professional brand. Be sure to follow these steps and regularly update your profile with your up-to-date achievements, clean it up and ensure that it represents you in the correct way.

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One comment

  1. Robert Koma October 18, 2013 at 7:10 am

    Thanks for the advice.

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