Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

12 Rookie Mistakes You’re Making on LinkedIn (Probably)

By Mark Wilkinson | Aug 4, 2015 | Candidate Tips

Did you know that a whopping 93% of recruiters will check a job applicant’s social media profiles, before contacting them?

A huge proportion of this ‘online stalking’ will take place on LinkedIn; but it is REALLY important to make sure that your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc etc. are also clean, just in case!

Below, we’re going to reveal the most common mistakes that people make (you might recognise some of them from our recent naming and shaming).

Is your LinkedIn profile sabotaging your chances?

1. You’re Not Even On LinkedIn.

If you’re not currently on LinkedIn, then you’re REALLY missing a trick!

One of the first things a recruiter will do, after receiving your CV or application, will be to check out your LinkedIn profile – and that’s a perfect chance to sell yourself to them!

Some recruiters might actually ignore your application if they can’t find you on LinkedIn! Or turn to your Facebook and if that’s not up-to-scratch then you’re really in trouble.

LinkedIn is also a great tool for recruiters who want to seek passive candidates (those who aren’t looking for a job) – so it’s always good to have your name and profile out there, you never know who might approach you!

2. You Have No LinkedIn Profile Picture.

the icon that comes up when you don't have a LinkedIn profile pictureIf someone, without a profile picture, tried to befriend you on Facebook, wouldn’t you be just a little bit suspicious.

It’s exactly the same on LinkedIn.

My immediate impression would be; what’s wrong with them?

(Harsh, but true.)

3. You Have A Terrible LinkedIn Profile Picture.

different linkedin profile pictures

Here’s some we found earlier!

SO many people post terrible LinkedIn pictures…and it’s just embarrassing.

Honestly, recruiters will take just a few seconds to glance at your LinkedIn profile and if you’ve posted a wacky photo of you getting lairy, cuddling your pet cat or just looking weird, then you’ll immediately go into the ‘no’ pile.

You can showcase that sparkling personality throughout your CV, cover letter and interview, LinkedIn is for professionals.

4. You’ve Made Typos Throughout (Even Just One).

Everyone hates a typo.

Even if it’s just oen stoopid mistke…it completely ruins your credibility (especially if you’ve just said how great you are at proofreading).

Before letting your profile loose to the world, go through it with a fine-tooth comb, ensuring that there are NO mistakes.

If your profile is already live – check it again – now.

If you feel like you can’t trust yourself (it’s harder when you’re reading back your own work) then get someone else to read it.

5. You Have Too Many Connections.

Usually when something seems too good to be true, it is too good to be true.

If you’re just starting out on your career but appear to have 10,000 connections, then it’s mind-boggling obvious that you’ve just connected with a load of people you don’t know. Really not impressive.

picture with 500+ connections written on it.The same is true if you’re connected to a load of people, in a variety of industries that appear to have nothing at all to do with your career.

It’s good to build up a network on LinkedIn, but adding everyone, you ever come across is just plain obvious.

6. You Ramble.

LinkedIn is not the place to tell your life story.

Recruiters will want a quick and succinct overview of your experience, your skills and what you’re currently up to – but that’s about it.

Consider the CV advice we’ve given you; keep it short, snappy, compelling, yet informative.

Mention a few interests, sure, but don’t go on and on about them – just show that you do have other interests outside of work.

7. You’re Not Exploiting the Headline.

Yes – you have limited space, but this is the first thing recruiters will see – so make it good!

Think about keywords that are relevant to the role, especially if your actual job title is something bizarre like ‘marketing wizard’ or ‘design Jedi.’

String these together with exciting adjectives to make a memorable and interesting headline!

For example:

  • “Tireless, caring Registered Nurse who helps pediatric cancer patients and their families feel at ease throughout treatment and recovery.”
  • “Reliable pet-sitter who will find out and report back to you exactly what your dog is up to when you’re not home.”

(For more compelling examples, Click Here).

8. Your Summary is Just So-So.

Superman with quote SUPER MEHNow, you’ve grabbed the recruiter with your fabulous headline and profile picture…what will they see next? Your summary!

If you read our blog last week called: 8 Tips For Developing A Killer Personal USP  then you’ll be well aware of the importance of branding yourself.

You want to show off how unique, absolutely indispensable, you are.

Your LinkedIn Summary should highlight your USP, skills and experience in an exciting way.

Recruiter Pro Tip.

Just a quick heads up for those of you who currently have a job!

Should you decide to revamp your LinkedIn completely, then you should make sure that you don’t publish any changes (find out more HERE).

It’s going to look pretty darn obvious to your current employers if you’ve suddenly added a more professional picture, extra content and started connecting to recruitment consultants and hiring managers.

9. You’ve Got Your Skills All Wrong.

When you start typing into your skills section on LinkedIn, you’ll be offered a drop-down, filled with suggestions…

For example, if I type in “recruit,” I’m shown…

  • Recruiting.
  • Technical recruiting.
  • Contract recruitment.
  • Internet recruiting.
  • Recruitment Advertising.
  • College recruiting.
  • IT recruitment.
  • Graduate recruitment.
  • Student recruiting.
  • Volunteer recruiting.

That’s because, they are the most common phrases searched for, by recruiters looking to recruit in recruitment (tongue twister).

Katherine's strange endorsements including kidnap and ransom
If you have a huge list of skills that aren’t recommended – like ‘legendary recruitment’ – then no one is searching for them.

Hence, you’ll never come up when recruiters are looking for people with your skills- even if they’ve searched ‘recruitment’!

ALWAYS use the drop down list.

10. You’ve Not Completed Your Profile.

It’s true. You can attach your CV to your LinkedIn profile, but it’s not advisable.

Firstly, recruiters who are screening you, after already reading your CV, will gain no extra information or clarification from this.

Secondly, it’s more difficult to access and recruiters who just want a really quick overview will be put off!

At the very least, your profile should include these sections:

  • Your Name (duh).
  • Headline.
  • Your Location.
  • Industry.
  • A thorough summary.
  • ALL past experience (temporary and part time, voluntary and apprenticeships included) with dates.
  • ALL education (GCSEs included) with dates.
  • A contact email.

It’s also nice to include a simple section about your hobbies and interests, just so recruiters know you have a life outside of work (everyone needs downtime).

11. You’re Not Using LinkedIn Properly.

example of a LinkedIn engaging updateThere’s SO much more to LinkedIn than just putting up your profile.

You should be engaging with communities, posting content, updates and statuses allowing your connections to get to know you better.

You should at the very least use the following two techniques…

  • Join Groups. Becoming a member of relevant industry groups, is a great way to make some really handy connections, learn about job opportunities and advertise yourself to potential employers. It’s not about joining up and then bombarding the group with things about yourself, it’s about starting and participating in discussions, posting interesting content that other people will appreciate and in the process, showing off your expertise.
  • Use your status. You can use your LinkedIn status to let all of your connections know what’s going on in your professional life. Did you recently receive a promotion, win an award, complete a really successful project, raise money for charity, throw an event etc. Obviously, don’t come across too cocky. Just remind your connections that you’re there.

Such activities will ensure that you’re kept ‘top-of-mind‘ – much better than just hoping recruiters will eventually stumble across you!

12. You’ve Used The Following Buzzwords & Phrases.

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, then you’ll already know how much we dislike clichés…

…these are just 3 of the blogs we’ve posted.

Take a glance back over your LinkedIn profile – and CV & cover letter if necessary – if you find any of these words or phrases, it’s time for a rewrite.

Dynamic, innovative, fulfilling, self-motivated, strong work ethic, team-player, detail-oriented, hard worker, looking for my next challenge, to progress my career, passionate about, focus on the bottom line, great communication skills, proven track record, fast-paced environment…

These stock phrases are cringe-worthy and mean nothing!

Discover more terrible buzzwords HERE!


There are two main ways to find a job on LinkedIn…

You could simply head over to the dedicated “Jobs” section and complete a targeted search.

Or, if you know the actual company you’d like to work for, just search for them and check out their profile.

Many businesses will advertise their jobs online before going elsewhere (it’s cheap) – and if they haven’t got a job opening right there and then, there’s no harm in connecting with the company…especially if you ARE using LinkedIn properly.

Recruiter Pro Tip.

LinkedIn isn’t the only social media site you should consider whilst looking for a job.

Engaging potential employers on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ will beef up your profile and improve your chances of job-seeking success.

(Click here to find out how you could be getting yourself a job on Facebook.)

Don’t forget; even if you do have  a LinkedIn profile, recruiters still might choose to stalk you on Facebook and other sites, so make sure they haven’t got anything to hold against you.

Good luck

- Mark Wilkinson
Mark Wilkinson

Mark Wilkinson

Mark is one of the founders of Coburg Banks and heads up the permanent recruitment division of the business.  Every day he helps companies with their recruitment projects, sourcing the very best individuals for their vacancies.  He understands recruitment inside-out.

> More blog posts by Mark Wilkinson

Get in touch with us.

Telephone: 0121 362 2300
Or send us a quick message and we’ll call you.
*These are required fields
Please leave this field empty.