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Things You Should Never Do on LinkedIn: The Complete Guide

Elevate your LinkedIn profile with our expert guide covering 25 crucial 'don'ts' and essential tips for a professional online presence.

Linkedin Tutorials
min read

Missing out on LinkedIn?

That's like showing up to a costume party in plain clothes - a major professional faux pas!

It might be obvious, but it bears repeating just for the record: LinkedIn has evolved from a digital resume repository to a bustling hub for different business profiles.

This includes job hunters, marketing maestros, startup wizards, sales superstars, and professional network aficionados.

And guess what?

They are all in this “visibility game”.

Because your LinkedIn presence matters to us, this super informative guide will dive into the 25 epic 'don'ts' of LinkedIn.

From profile blunders to connection catastrophes, message mishaps to group gaffes, and the delicate art of not turning your sales pitch into a digital door slam.

Ready to give your LinkedIn profile a glow-up?

Let's spruce up your online professional persona, transforming it from a digital tumbleweed to a sparkling beacon of professionalism!

Category #1: Mistakes to Avoid on Your LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile is both your introduction and your final impression, making it a pivotal element in your professional journey.

To ensure your content resonates and is taken seriously, your profile needs to be robust and reflective of the expectations your content sets.

This is crucial for converting your audience into customers, business partners, or stakeholders of any kind.

That's why we're kicking off this guide with a comprehensive rundown of the essential don'ts for crafting an exceptional LinkedIn profile.

Let's make your profile as impressive and effective as it can be!

1. Setting an Unprofessional Profile Picture

LinkedIn, despite its occasional laid-back demeanor, stands primarily as a professional network. Your presence on this platform should embody professional decorum.

As a young professional aiming to establish a significant presence, it is crucial to avoid the common pitfall of choosing a profile picture that is too casual.

Remember, your LinkedIn profile picture is often the first impression you make on a network of fellow professionals, colleagues, recruiters, potential employers, and prospective partners.

It is essential to present an image that aligns with your professional aspirations and the norms of the platform.

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Avoid group photos, vacation snapshots, and home settings.

✅ Say no to selfies.

Ask a friend to take a professional picture of you against a neutral background.

✅ If you don't have help, use a tripod or suitable stand with a timer for a remote photoshoot.

2. Using an Impersonal Background Image

Upon creating your LinkedIn profile, you'll notice it features a default background image. It's advisable to change this.

Retaining the default image can suggest a lack of care or creativity, neither of which are desirable traits for your professional image on the platform.

Additionally, it's important to avoid leaving your background image space empty. An empty background can make your profile appear unfinished and unprofessional.


📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Select an appropriate custom image for your LinkedIn background.

✅ Ensure it represents you as a professional, not a private individual.

✅ Make sure it accurately reflects your industry and personal brand.

3. Retaining the Default LinkedIn URL

When you join LinkedIn, the platform automatically assigns you a public profile URL.

However, this default URL is often generic and not particularly user-friendly.

It's advisable not to leave your URL in its default state.

Instead, take the opportunity to customize it to something more memorable and distinct.


Remember, customizing your LinkedIn URL is not just an aesthetic choice— it's a practical business decision.

A personalized URL makes it easier for others to find and connect with you, an essential aspect in networking.

This is particularly vital if you have a common name, operate in a densely populated industry, or lack highly specialized skills.

Essentially, if there's any aspect of your profile that might overlap with others, a unique URL can help you stand out.

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Access your LinkedIn privacy settings by clicking on the "Me" icon.

✅ Select "Settings & Privacy" from the dropdown menu, and then choose "Data Privacy" on the left rail.


Strike a balance between privacy and availability to ensure your profile is visible to potential opportunities.

4. Using Unconventional Formats for Your Name

When setting up your LinkedIn profile, how you format your name matters.

You might think about using all caps or some unique styling to stand out, but it's better to keep it straightforward.

Stick to a simple and clear name format – it's more professional and less about personal flair.

Your name is part of the first impression you make, just like your profile picture and background image.

So, it's important to make sure it fits the professional vibe you're going for on LinkedIn.

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Choose a standard, clean, and easily readable font with default formatting for your LinkedIn profile.

✅ Avoid unnecessary bolding, italicizing, or excessive formatting.

Refrain from including nicknames, titles, honorifics, or diminutives that are unrelated to your professional position and industry status to maintain a professional and effective profile.

5. Misusing the Pronoun Space

LinkedIn provides a specific space for gender pronouns on your profile, and it's important to use it as intended.

This space is for indicating your preferred pronouns only. Misusing it can be seen as a breach of platform etiquette.

If you choose to share your pronouns, this is where to do it.

If you prefer not to specify, it's completely okay to leave this field empty.

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Whatever you do, don't use the LinkedIn pronoun space for unrelated purposes.

This includes:

  • product promotions and announcements,
  • sales pitches,
  • service offers,
  • additional off-platform contact information,
  • plugging third parties,
  • announcing that you're on a job hunt,
  • announcing that you're looking for talent, etc.

It will likely make you come across as tone-deaf at best and desperate at worst.

6. Overlooking the Importance of Your LinkedIn Headline

Your LinkedIn headline plays a crucial role in defining your professional identity on the platform.

It's the space where you compensate for the titles and honorifics not included in your name and pronoun sections.

Use this opportunity to succinctly communicate your industry, current role, and expertise level..


A well-crafted headline not only informs profile visitors about your professional background but also highlights your unique value proposition and authority in your field

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Keep your LinkedIn headline concise and powerful.

✅ Aim for a compelling line or a single phrase.

Experiment with different versions to find the most effective one.

✅ Seek input from trusted friends if needed.

✅ Highlight the most niche, relevant, and current aspects that make you stand out.

7. Excessive Use of Formal Language

While a profile on a business platform does entail a certain level of formality, don't take it too far, or it will become counterproductive.

It's important to strike a healthy balance between the professional space and the networking, i.e. community aspects of LInkedIn.

You want to be genuine enough that your potential collaborators will see you as approachable and worth approaching.

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Avoid sounding overly formal or rigid in your LinkedIn profile.

Use common terms instead of specialized jargon when appropriate.

Refer to yourself in the first person (e.g., "I am a family lawyer") rather than the third person (e.g., "Mr. Smith is a family lawyer").

✅ Aim for a conversational tone that strikes a balance between friendliness and professionalism.

8. Using Clichéd or Overused Words

The language commonly found on LinkedIn has almost become a meme, and not without reason.

Words like "experienced," "specialize," "passionate," "strategic," "focused," "skilled," and "thrilled" are so frequently used that they've become clichés.

There's an oversaturation of these terms across numerous profiles and posts on the platform.

Thus, avoid using overly generic expressions in your LinkedIn profile.

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Replace generic LinkedIn vocabulary with specific, impactful language that highlights your expertise.

✅ Consider using more formal word choices strategically to convey competence.

✅ Streamline your language for a sharp and reliable professional image.

9. Adding Unnecessary Information in Your LinkedIn Summary

Your LinkedIn summary should serve as a succinct and impactful recap of your professional journey.

It's not the place for extraneous details or information that's already covered elsewhere in your profile, like your company's description or your job search status.

The summary should be concise, well-written, and engaging.

It's your opportunity to clearly underscore your unique value, drawing on and concluding the narrative that the rest of your profile has outlined.

Think of it as the final piece that brings your professional story together.

Here how a good example of summary looks like:


📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Avoid using bullets, all caps, one-liners, or unusual formatting in your summary.

✅ Keep the summary clean, concise, well-written, and engaging.

✅ Focus on highlighting your unique value based on the information already in your profile.

10. Neglecting to Fully Complete Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn offers extensive opportunities to detail your professional narrative.

Embrace this space to highlight your skills and establish your credibility.

Beyond just outlining your work history and education, include elements that showcase your competencies and achievements.

A fully completed profile not only increases your visibility to potential employers but also retains their attention.


In contrast, an incomplete or detail-scarce profile may inadvertently convey a lack of professionalism, poor attention to detail, insufficient effort in self-marketing, or indifference to how you're perceived professionally.

Remember, if your profile doesn't show that you care about your professional image, it might lead others to wonder why they should take an interest in you?

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Include details about:

  • informal education,
  • self-education,
  • Internships,
  • volunteer experiences,
  • community service,
  • diverse skills,
  • languages spoken,
  • hobbies, and
  • interests in your LinkedIn profile.

✅ If using Creator Mode, utilize the featured section to showcase your best work and achievements.

These additional details provide insight into your strengths, problem-solving approach, and dedication.

11. Overlooking Regular Updates to Your LinkedIn Profile

Neglecting to update your LinkedIn profile can have several negative consequences.

An outdated profile may:

  • limit your networking opportunities,
  • diminish your credibility,
  • decrease your visibility to recruiters and clients, and even
  • affect the reach of your content on the platform.

To maximize the impact of your LinkedIn presence, it's crucial to ensure your profile is not just complete, but also current in every aspect.

Regular updates reflect your latest achievements and changes in your professional life, keeping your network informed and engaged.

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Establish a routine for updating your LinkedIn profile, whether it's monthly, quarterly, or suitable for your professional schedule.

✅ Regularly review and update your information, adding new relevant details.

✅ Consider removing outdated information, such as keywords or skills that no longer apply, to keep your profile current and accurate.

12. Creating Multiple or Fake Profiles on LinkedIn

Creating multiple or fake profiles on LinkedIn is a strategy fraught with challenges.

Managing several online personas is not only difficult but also dilutes your personal brand and lessens your impact.

It can confuse both your existing network and potential new connections.

Similarly, fabricating an identity on LinkedIn is counterproductive. This platform thrives on genuine, interconnected professional relationships.


In the professional world, your real-life contacts often overlap with your online networks.

If it comes to light that you have a false profile, the damage to:

  • your trustworthiness,
  • industry credibility,
  • general professional reputation, and
  • authority in your expertise area can be severe and lasting.

A single, authentic LinkedIn profile is the most effective way to build and maintain professional relationships and credibility.

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Maintain a single LinkedIn profile, even if you're involved in multiple industries.

Embrace your versatility as a valuable asset and showcase your interdisciplinary expertise.

Optimize your profile to highlight the breadth of your career directions and make the most of your professional persona.

Category #2: Mistakes to Avoid When Making Connections on LinkedIn

While updating your LinkedIn profile, it's crucial to also consider how you're engaging with other users.

This part of your LinkedIn strategy involves refining your approach to direct messaging, whether for general networking or specific sales purposes.

Let's delve into the best practices and common pitfalls to avoid, ensuring your direct outreach on LinkedIn is both effective and professionally appropriate.

13. Neglecting Proper Etiquette in LinkedIn Direct Messaging

Navigating online communication, especially in a professional context like LinkedIn, requires mindfulness.

The lack of visual cues, such as facial expressions and body language, along with the uncertainty of immediate responses, can sometimes lead to a lapse in internet etiquette. Remember, each message reflects on your professionalism.

It's important to maintain a respectful and courteous tone in all your interactions, regardless of the online medium's inherent limitations


📌 Tip for Fix

Avoid using generic messages and canned greetings when reaching out on LinkedIn.

Show that you genuinely care about the conversation and the other person's contributions.

Don't spam your contacts' inboxes—-allow time for responses before sending another message.

Be patient, respectful, and authentic in your communication on the platform.

14. Avoiding Overly Aggressive Sales Tactics on LinkedIn

LinkedIn messages aren't a good channel for hard selling. Don't jump directly into a pitch after connecting with someone.

This can come off as intrusive, unprofessional, and overall very inappropriate.

Just like generic greetings, it makes the recipient feel unappreciated (and, even worse, potentially annoyed at your brand).

📌 Tip for Fix

Prioritize building relationships and understanding your connections' needs before promoting your services or products on LinkedIn.

Approach interactions as a helpful friend who can assist with challenges, rather than as an aggressive salesperson solely focused on making a quick profit.

Category #3: Mistakes to Avoid in Managing Connections and Participating in LinkedIn Groups

Engaging with your connections and participating in LinkedIn groups are key components of effective networking on the platform.

However, there are certain practices in these areas that can negatively impact how you're perceived.

Let's explore what to avoid to ensure you're well-received and respected in these interactive spaces.

15. Fabricating Connections on LinkedIn

While LinkedIn is designed for making new connections, it's important to approach this with authenticity rather than just expanding your network indiscriminately.

Sending connection requests without a genuine interest or purpose can come across as spammy and is unlikely to be beneficial in the long term.

Focusing on building meaningful relationships with a select group of connections is far more effective than attempting to reach out to a vast number of random users.

This approach ensures your network remains relevant and valuable to your professional goals.

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Approach LinkedIn as a virtual networking event.

✅ Connect with people who have mutual connections or industry-related interactions.

Personalize your connection requests with a polite introduction and a clear explanation of why you want to connect.

16. Endorsing or Recommending People You Haven't Worked With

Endorsements and recommendations are powerful tools on LinkedIn, but their value lies in their authenticity.

It's advisable to avoid endorsing or recommending individuals with whom you haven't directly worked.

Vouching for someone's skills or work ethic without firsthand experience can undermine your own credibility.

Your endorsements should reflect genuine knowledge of a person's abilities.

This not only helps maintain the integrity of your professional judgment but also ensures the overall reliability of endorsements within the LinkedIn community.

📌 Tip for Fix

Avoid asking for recommendations or endorsements from individuals who are not familiar with your work. Such requests may harm your credibility, and reputable individuals are unlikely to provide them.

✅ Focus on ensuring that any endorsements or recommendations you give or receive are genuine and well-deserved.

17. Overwhelming the Group with Excessive Posts on LinkedIn

Active participation in LinkedIn groups is a great way to engage with fellow professionals, but it's important to do so in a balanced manner.

Dominating conversations or posting excessively can disrupt the group's dynamic.

It's crucial to allow space for others to share their thoughts, contribute their expertise, and ask questions.

This approach ensures a healthy, collaborative environment where all members, regardless of their experience level, can benefit from the group's collective knowledge and insights.

📌 Tip for Fix

Avoid ridiculing others on LinkedIn.

Refrain from spamming groups with promotions, excessive pitching, or frequent discounts, especially if they are not relevant to the group's interests.

Do not post inappropriate content in group discussions.

Engage respectfully with others, offer valuable insights, and adhere to the group's rules and guidelines when participating in discussions.

Category #4: Mistakes to Avoid in Your LinkedIn Content and Commenting Strategy

When creating content for LinkedIn, it's key to stay relevant and provide genuine value.

The platform's algorithm has evolved to prioritize original and meaningful content, pushing aside posts that are overly promotional or lack substance.

Let's explore what to reconsider or avoid in your LinkedIn content strategy to align with the platform's current standards and audience expectations.

18. Avoid Sharing Overly Dense or Complex Content on LinkedIn

When sharing content on LinkedIn, clarity should be a priority over complexity.

It's more effective to be understandable than to impress with overly dense or intricate posts.

Aim for brevity, keeping your posts within the range of 1200-1500 characters.

In fact, posts around 900 characters often see the most engagement.

This approach ensures your content is digestible and appealing, increasing the likelihood of capturing and retaining your audience's attention.

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Avoid making your LinkedIn posts linguistically complicatedaim for readability and clarity.

✅ Maintain a readability index of around 5-6 in English, or 6-7 in most other languages.

Break up lengthy paragraphs into shorter, more digestible chunks of text to enhance comprehension for all readers.

💡 Pro Tip

You can use a handy tool like AuthoredUp to check your character count before you publish.

19. Depending on Low-Effort Content Types on LinkedIn

Relying on cross-sharing content from platforms like Facebook or Instagram is not the most effective strategy for LinkedIn.

Content on LinkedIn should be tailored specifically for this professional network.

It's important to understand and respect the unique nature of the LinkedIn audience and the type of content that resonates with them.

Therefore, it's advisable to focus on creating original, high-quality content that aligns with the professional and business-oriented ethos of LinkedIn, rather than simply repurposing material from other social media platforms.


📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Avoid using irrelevant visuals and unrelated stories in your LinkedIn posts.

Refrain from posting selfies, especially if they are out of context—consider using useful elements like infographics instead.

✅ Be cautious with content like newsjacking, personal stories, and TikTok videos, as they may not perform well under the new algorithm.

✅ Ensure that all your content provides genuine value for your industry to maintain engagement and visibility.

20. Spamming Shallow Comments on LinkedIn

LinkedIn's current algorithm emphasizes the importance of comment quality, shifting focus away from sheer volume.

It's no longer sufficient to merely respond frequently—what matters more is the depth and relevance of your comments.


Thus, relying on tools like ChatGPT for mass-producing comments or generating standard templates is not advisable.

Such comments often lack uniqueness and authenticity, and users can easily recognize their repetitive nature.

To engage effectively on LinkedIn, aim for insightful, well-thought-out comments that contribute meaningfully to discussions.

This approach will not only be more appreciated by your network but will also align better with LinkedIn's emphasis on quality engagement.

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Contribute genuine value to discussions by thinking critically about the topic on your own.

✅ Aim to comment a reasonable amount, such as 5-10 comments per post.

Distribute your comments organically within the discussion, avoiding spammy or out-of-context contributions to maintain a meaningful presence.

21. Overlooking the Quality and Timing of Your LinkedIn Posts

When posting on LinkedIn, focus on a few key areas:

1. Content Authority

When using LinkedIn, it's crucial to maintain focus on your areas of expertise rather than overextending your content's scope.

LinkedIn now evaluates the credibility of the profile behind each post, making it an excellent opportunity to showcase your expertise.

However, venturing too far into unfamiliar topics can negatively impact your perceived authority.

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Stick to topics where you have genuine expertise.

✅ To establish yourself as an authority, limit your posts to a handful of subjects you're truly knowledgeable about.

💡 Pro Tip

AuthoredUp offers a suite of features to boost the visual appeal and engagement of your posts. It enables you to use formatting options such as:

  • bold and italic text,
  • incorporate bullet points for clarity and organization,
  • include emojis to infuse personality and visual interest, etc.

These tools are crafted to help you produce content that is both informative and visually engaging, enhancing audience interaction.


2. Tagging and Hashtags

When using the LinkedIn platform, it's important to move beyond the outdated practices of excessive tagging and hashtagging.

Unlike previous trends, tagging individuals who are not personally known to you or who do not have a direct interest in the topic of your post can result in negative feedback on the platform.

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Avoid excessive tagging of unrelated individuals.

✅ Aim for no more than 5 relevant hashtags per post.

💡 Pro Tip

You can use the AuthoredUp tool to boost your LinkedIn strategy with a hashtag performance feature.

Track each hashtag's use, comments, reactions, shares, and engagement rate to identify what works best with your audience.

Additionally, you can use hashtags for easy topic organization and to monitor which ones drive the most engagement.


3. Publishing Schedule

Finally, revise your publishing calendar.

As it turns out, posting later in the week can result in diminished visibility as users tend to be less active on LinkedIn.

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days to publish new content for optimal reach.

Weekend posts might appeal to highly dedicated industry professionals.

Avoid Mondays for major posts since it's typically a busy day in most industries.

Remember, if inspiration strikes at a less ideal time, draft your post and save it to publish later when it's more likely to be seen and engaged with.

💡 Pro Tip

Utilize AuthoredUp to enhance LinkedIn content management with two key tools:

  • a feature for creating and saving draft ideas on-the-go, and
  • Calendar View for tracking and adjusting scheduled posts.

Draft ideas as they come, switch between drafts, and prepare posts at your convenience. Simultaneously, use Calendar View to see your scheduled content, easily reschedule, or delete posts, making content management more efficient.


Category #5: Mistakes to Avoid in Your LinkedIn Job Search

LinkedIn serves as a pivotal platform for job hunting, whether you're networking with recruiters, responding to job advertisements, or directly reaching out to hiring managers.

However, there are certain missteps to be aware of in this process.

Let's delve into some of these common pitfalls and explore how to navigate your job search on LinkedIn more effectively.

22. Applying for Any Open Job

It's important not to apply indiscriminately to every job opening you come across on LinkedIn. Even if a position falls within your industry or seems to match your skillset, it's crucial to thoroughly read and understand the job description.

Each role may offer different opportunities and challenges, and not every job will be the right fit for you.

📌 Tip for Fix

Customize your resume and cover letter for each job application.

✅ Maintain professionalism and avoid excessive persistence when reaching out to recruiters or hiring managers on LinkedIn.

23. Neglecting Advanced Search for Job Hunting

When searching for job opportunities on LinkedIn, it's beneficial to use the platform's advanced search features.

Simply scrolling through job listings without utilizing these tools might cause you to miss out on roles that are more aligned with your specific qualifications and career objectives.

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Set job alerts and utilize the "Easy Apply" feature.

✅ Don't disregard the "jobs you may be interested in" suggestions, as they can broaden your opportunities.

Maximize these tools to identify roles that match your skills, experiences, and interests.

24. Applying to Jobs Outside Your Profile

Before applying for any job on LinkedIn, it's crucial to ensure that your profile accurately reflects the skills and experiences pertinent to the role.

While your CV may be tailored to the job, remember that hiring managers will likely review your LinkedIn profile as well.

It's important that they find the information they're looking for.


A generic or unrelated profile can fail to impress and may even negatively impact your chances.

📌 Tip for Fix

✅ Ensure your LinkedIn profile complements your CV and cover letter.

Highlight your suitability for the job in your headline, summary, and work experience. You can easily switch back to a more general profile or customize it for future opportunities.

25. Disrespecting LinkedIn Recruiters

Interacting with recruiters and hiring managers on LinkedIn calls for a respectful and honest approach.

Recognize that they are professionals committed to their roles, just as you are to yours.

Thus, it's essential to be truthful about your skills and achievements on your profile.

Recruiters will verify your history and references, so any dishonesty is likely to be discovered, undermining your credibility.

📌 Tip for Fix

Touch base throughout the year. Establish a large circle of acquaintanceship with recruiters and hiring managers.

Foster closer relationships with recruiters and hiring managers so that you can prioritize quality leads when the time comes to pursue new opportunities.

Wrapping Up

To sum up, LinkedIn's latest updates favor authenticity over quantity.

The focus has shifted away from weak connections, superficial comments, overly complex posts, and excessive hashtags.

Now, the platform values real expertise, meaningful interactions, and respectful communication.

For job seekers, using specific search tools, maintaining recruiter relationships, and tailoring CVs for each role are key strategies.

Remember, a well-crafted, up-to-date, and authentic profile is essential.

Want a quick and lasting boost for your LinkedIn profile?

It's time to check out AuthoredUp!

What AuthoredUp Offers?

AuthoredUp tool is an all-in-one LinkedIn content tool. Here’s what it offers:

🔍 Preview your posts on different devices.

📝 Create engaging content with bold, italics, bullet points, and more.

📅 Manage drafts, take notes, or schedule posts for future publishing.

🏷 Utilize over 200 hooks and 100+ CTA templates in multiple languages.

📥 Save and reuse text snippets across your posts.

📚 Track all your LinkedIn posts and analyze their performance, including historical data.

🔄 Easily reuse any of your previous posts.

👁‍🗨 Check the readability score to ensure your content is clear and engaging.

🗂 Handle multiple LinkedIn profiles in one place.

📊 Explore detailed content analytics.

🔬 Compare metrics of different posts.

👥 Suitable for both personal profiles and LinkedIn pages.

🎉 Ideal for individuals, teams, or marketing agencies.

Sounds tempting?

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