9 mistakes you're making on LinkedIn that are putting off recruiters and making it harder to find a job

Sebastiaan ter Burg/FlickrHere’s how not to get a job on LinkedIn.
  • It’s important to know how to get a job on LinkedIn.
  • But you might be making a number of mistakes on LinkedIn that could be hurting your chances of landing a new opportunity.
  • Amongst nine of the biggest mistakes are having an unprofessional headshot and not posting enough updates.

LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for connecting with recruiters or those in your network who could help you to the next stage of your career.

Unless, of course, you’re scaring them off before they can even connect with you.

Career coaches Marc Dickstein and Evangelia Leclaire shared with Business Insider a few of the most common mistakes that people make on LinkedIn.

Luckily, you can avoid most of them by making sure you’re consistently engaging with your network in a way that’s professional and friendly.

Here are nine of the most common mistakes people make on LinkedIn:

Your headline says your job title, but nothing else

Rachel Premack/Business Insider

“This is a great opportunity to showcase your personal brand, which is typically not a priority for those who create job titles,” Dickstein said.

Instead of saying you’re simply a “software engineer,” say what programming language or field you’ve specialised in. I could have mentioned that I’m a “careers reporter covering the trucking industry.”

Your summary doesn’t explain much about your passions, what you’re seeking on LinkedIn, or what sets you apart


Many people forego writing a summary. Dickstein said that’s a problem.

“(Your summary) should be demonstrative of your passion and excitement about whatever it is that you do – and want to do,” Dickstein told Business Insider.

Your summary shouldn’t just rehash what’s in your job experience. Instead, use LinkedIn to highlight the most interesting parts of your career, what you’re passionate about, and what you’re looking for.

Your photo is unprofessional

Jerod Harris/Getty Images for GUESS

“Don’t ever expect a recruiter to represent you if you cannot positively and professionally represent yourself on LinkedIn,” Leclaire, who is also founder and chief evangelist of Ready Set Rock Academy, told Business Insider.

“If your LinkedIn profile is bare and your picture looks like it’s cropped from a group photo from a family wedding, a recruiter will pass you up,” she added.

Dickstein said you don’t need to hire a professional photographer, necessarily, but make sure your head is visible, the background is simple, your face is shown clearly, and you’re in casual business attire.

And yes, anyone can tell if you’ve cropped out your friends or a wine glass, Dickstein said.

You don’t explain how you excelled in previous roles

Rachel Premack/Business Insider

Moving down to the experience section, you’ll need more than just the company name and your job title.

“The name of your past employer and your job title do not effectively illustrate your accomplishments,” Dickstein said. “Recruiters want to understand the challenges you faced and tactics you utilised to knock the socks off of your manager.”

At the same time, don’t go overboard. Don’t provide a bullet-pointed list of everything you did at your last job.

Rather than listing every last project, choose the experiences that are most demonstrative of your capabilities.

You have no recommendations — or they’re just bad

Rachel Premack/Business Insider

You don’t need dozens of recommendations, but Dickstein said recruiters will wonder if the recommendation portion of your LinkedIn is totally blank.

Find a few coworkers, both past and present, and offer to trade a few recommendations.

“The note should reflect not just what you do at work, but how you do it, particularly when you’re working closely with others,” Dickstein said.

(By the way, here’s how to write great LinkedIn recommendations and get some in return.)

You don’t post updates

Rachel Premack/Business Insider
Kim Infanti, executive director at Syracuse University’s Office of Alumni Engagement, previously told Business Insider that you should be posting something on LinkedIn at least once a week.

It doesn’t need to be extravagant, either.

“Share an update with your network,” Infanti said. “Put up a photo of an event that you attended. Comment on someone’s post. You want to show up in the network feed, and the way you show up is by doing those things.”

You also might want to try writing an article to show off your expertise on a given topic. These articles can get thousands of views, Business Insider previously reported.

You don’t have anything on your profile that suggests you have hobbies or interests

Rachel Premack/Business Insider

“Even if the unfortunate truth of the moment is that you work all the time, share a bit about your interests and things going on in your life and career,” Dickstein said. “Who and what you follow is demonstrative of what you care about.”

A great way to show off your hobbies and what interests you is by posting those status updates.

You’re not really digging into LinkedIn’s search tools

Rachel Premack/Business Insider

Take advantage of the different search options you have on LinkedIn, which allow you to search for people or jobs based on location, industry, company, and tons of other filters.

That especially applies for when you’re looking for a recruiter. Leclaire recommended being choosy when searching for one, because not all of them can help you with the specific industry or role that you’re interested in.

“Don’t cast the net wide and request to connect with any recruiter,” Leclaire said. “Find a mutual a fit. Many recruiters specialize in jobs within specific industries, roles and regions.”

You don’t develop a relationship with recruiters

Rachel Premack/Business Insider

“Build and nurture a relationships with a few recruiters,” Leclaire said. “Ask questions about their priorities and what they’re focusing on. Explore how you can help, add value, and set expectations on how often you’ll be touching base.”

In other words, don’t seem desperate or give off the impression that you expect the recruiter to do everything for you. There really are professionals who message recruiters, “Can you get me a job?”

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.