8 things you should never put on LinkedIn

Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design/FlickrBe careful with what you post on LinkedIn.
  • LinkedIn is a space to present your career history and goals.
  • You really shouldn’t post just anything on the site.
  • Business Insider compiled a number of suggestions of topics to avoid on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a great platform when it comes to broadcasting your career successes and searching for exciting new opportunities.

So you should take care to put your most professional foot forward on the site. You don’t want to turn off prospective recruiters or your current employers with questionable posts.

Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behaviour and Thrive in Your Job,” spoke with Business Insider about a few pitfalls to avoid on the professional networking site.

Here’s a look at some guidelines to follow when it comes to content you should avoid posting on LinkedIn:


Don’t post complaints about your current or former boss, colleagues, or company

Áine Cain/Business Insider

Don’t trash people or organisations on your LinkedIn account.

Your old company might have been a hot mess. Your former boss might be a complete jerk. But posting about that just isn’t a good look.

“Don’t complain about your current position or employer,” Vip Sandhir, the CEO and founder of the employee-engagement platform HighGround, previously told Business Insider.

There is a place for writing nuanced posts about less-than-positive work experiences on your LinkedIn profile. And, in certain cases, warning your network about a predatory or toxic work environment is likely justified.

But there are better venues for outing or blasting malicious employers than LinkedIn. Taylor said that recruiters may just conclude that your negative posts amount to a case of “sour grapes.”


Never post anything with spelling mistakes

Áine Cain/Business Insider

You always check your résumé for typos – and the same goes for anything you put on your LinkedIn account.

Sure, people who get crazy about innocent mistakes might be jerks – at least, according to one study.

But you still don’t want to spoil a post or job experience blurb with sloppy spelling. Such errors could distract visitors to your profile from your qualifications. Plus, frequent and egregious spelling and grammatical errors will give the impression that you’re less than meticulous.


Don’t publicize your job search

Áine Cain/Business Insider

If you’re currently employed and seeking a new role outside of your company, you’re going to want to keep it on the down low.

U.S. News & World Report outlined some tips for keeping your search private, including blocking and hiding your updates from certain LinkedIn connections, turning off the “sharing profile edits” feature, and clicking clicking “yes” for “let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities” under the job-seeking section.

In general, though, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You can use LinkedIn to message potential connections and seek out new roles. But you don’t have to broadcast that you’re looking around in an overt way.


Anything unrelated to jobs is better left off LinkedIn…

Áine Cain/Business Insider

LinkedIn is a website centered around jobs. Post and update your profile with that in mind.

Of course, it’s fine to get a bit personal in your posts, and an occasional light-hearted post isn’t necessarily out of the question – but using your account to exclusively curate funny cat videos isn’t the best use for LinkedIn

“I don’t think LinkedIn is Instagram or Facebook,” Taylor said. “I think this is a very professional medium.”


… including personal photos…

Áine Cain/Business Insider

Taylor noted that some people prefer to include snapshots of their personal lives within their LinkedIn profile, in order to project a well-rounded image.

But she advised against this.

“I think the kind of photos you want on LinkedIn have to do more with business-related photos,” she said. “Photos of you with colleagues. Photos of you in action at work.”

“Consider this as a living resume or a living business card,” she added. “If you were in an networking event and you were handing out your business card, it wouldn’t be a photo from your family album.”

Taylor said that the only caveats were photos of philanthropic or work-related extra curricular activities.


… any inappropriate posts …

Áine Cain/Business Insider

This tip is pretty simple. Don’t post anything inappropriate or offensive on LinkedIn. It’s just not the space to workshop risqué jokes or eyebrow-raising memes.

Save that stuff for more personal platforms like Facebook and Twitter, if you’re so inclined.

You don’t want to alienate potential employers – not to mention your current boss – with controversial content.


… and political diatribes

Áine Cain/LinkedIn

“It’s too much of a tinderbox to go into your political views on LinkedIn,” Taylor said. “Steer clear of that.”

The only potential exceptions to this guideline are people who work in the sphere of politics or political advocacy groups.


Nix large walls of text

Áine Cain/Business Insider

You want to make your LinkedIn as readable as possible, so post things with an eye toward formatting.

Taylor recommended keeping all posts and blurbs “readable and clean.”

“You don’t want people’s eyes to tear as they’re just trying to make it through your profile,” she said. “Leave enough white space and bullets. Less can be more. Avoid verbosity.”


Bonus: your graduation year, in certain cases

Áine Cain/Business Insider

Including your graduation year in your LinkedIn profile isn’t necessarily a big deal. However, it can pose a problem if you’re just starting out in your career or if you’re eager to land a role that you’re a bit over-qualified for.

“You could look too junior, or you could perhaps look too senior in your career,” Taylor said. “Generally speaking, if you want to be on the conservative side, you should probably leave it off to get the maximum number of hits from the maximum number of employers.”

That being said, Taylor added that there’s really “no right answer” to the question of including your graduation year. It largely depends on your own circumstances.

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