If you're new to LinkedIn, setting up a profile is a huge first step!

But, as you set up your profile, there are some things you should know in regards to maintaining it.


The last thing you need is to put so much time into setting up the profile, only to have a mistake undermine all of your efforts, and even cost you job opportunities or your career.

Here are four rookie mistakes you need to avoid making on LinkedIn:

You Don't Carefully Evaluate Who You Allow As A Connection

Business man considers a LinkedIn connection request.

While LinkedIn is a social networking site, we all have to remember that it's used more for professional networking. Yes, it can be used for personal networking, too. But when you mix the two together, it may not always work in your favor in the job search process.

Employers look at your connections, so you want to show that you have contacts in your field and industry and not things that might be inappropriate.

You Didn't Pick Your Profile Picture With Care

It's important to have a professional-looking headshot on your LinkedIn profile.

As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Choose a photo that leaves recruiters with the right impression. While some of you may be thinking maybe it is better off if you don't include a photo, that's not the answer.

The fact is your profile has a higher chance of being viewed with a photo. Think about when you house hunt or shop for clothing—if you don't see it, it's unlikely you will buy it. So, when selecting a photo, stick to something professional that conveys you are approachable and belong in the career of your choice.

Your Sub-Header Doesn't 'Talk'

When a recruiter sees search results on LinkedIn, it shows your name and a headline, which by default is the title of your position. It may read, "John Doe" followed by "Account Manager, ABC Company." Such a headline does not say a lot. Change it so that it provides more descriptive information about your experiences and career.

For example, "Healthcare Marketing and Medical Marketing Advisor" provides a much better understanding of the candidate. Remember, recruiters also use search engines to come up with LinkedIn account profiles, so you want to make sure the information appearing with your name counts and entices the recruiter to want to get in touch with you.

You Haven't Adjusted Your Privacy Settings

A professional adjusts their privacy settings on LinkedIn.

If you're currently employed and job searching, you probably don't want your employer and colleagues to know. When you don't adjust your privacy settings on LinkedIn, your activities like connecting to recruiters, making updates to your profile, and other activities can appear on your feed, and your contacts may even be notified of such changes. Avoid making your job search efforts obvious to such contacts by changing your privacy settings.

While LinkedIn is another avenue to professional networking and job searching, it's also up to you to maintain your professional presence there.


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This post was originally published at an earlier date.