The Top 10 Messages You’re Really Sending

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Sometimes it takes the perspective of the outsider to see what’s really going on… You walk though the front door every day, and so the stained and faded appearance is neither new nor unusual. In fact – that’s the way it’s been for some time.

But consider the message that it’s giving new visitors…

And so with that in mind, here are some messages you’re sending on LinkedIn – whether you think so or not.

10 ) Duplicate Profile

Message: I can’t be bothered to manage these online accounts.

Yes, it is much too easy to do, and correcting it is a big issue – but you can’t be one of those people that hasn’t fixed the problem. See “Search For Yourself – How Many Of You Are There?“.

9 ) Poor Choice Of Words / Profile Typos

Message: I can’t write.

It’s a simple message, but can anyone afford to send it? Oh sure, one simple typo or turn-of-the-phrase shouldn’t be a death knell. Too often though, I’ve seen error after error. You want to get brought in on the deal/job/opportunity when I know ahead of time that you can’t write?

8 ) Extra Content

Message: I can’t be held to any code of conduct.

Sure the LIONs will be all over me for this one, but do you really have to add that to your name? Or include your email address with your headline? Tactless and crude come to mind – but hey – if that’s what you want me to think…

7 ) 28 Things Happening Today

Message: I don’t have anything better to do.

If you send an update every now and then, and the things you send are interesting and/or useful, I’ll take the time to scan them. If you send out an hourly item, I’m probably going to let most pass by, even if some have been interesting…

6 ) Default Connection Message

Message: I don’t have time for you.

Really – you just found me twelve years after we worked on a project together, and you can’t take 20 seconds to compose a short note.

5 ) No Recommendations

Message: I’m not worth recommending.

This is harsh – but how else am I supposed to interpret it. You’ve got a LinkedIn presence, but no recommendations. WHY NOT?

4 ) 584 Recommendations

Message: I’ll plow you under with volume.

The opposite is just as bad – take care to show the best recommendations. Does it help if I say pretty please? I first joked about this in “The Agonizingly Long Profile“, but still see it happening. Editing for the reader’s enjoyment is a good thing.

3 ) smith john

Message: I don’t understand English and the convention of Firstname / Lastname.

Hey – it’s not a problem unless I expect you to be able to work in an environment where people capitalize properly and realize that their first name is john, and their last name is smith…

2 ) Bad Headline

Message: I’m ordinary.

Yes – with a headline of “Software developer” you’re right there along with three hundred thousand others. This might not be as bad as some of these others, but it hurts more and happens more often.

1 ) No Summary

Message: I don’t get it.

You have an opportunity to speak to every viewer of your profile – why wouldn’t you want to take a moment to tell them something – anything – about yourself. I don’t get it either…

Your Favorite?

So there you have it – my top 10 list of unintended messages gleaned from LinkedIn profiles.

Which ones do you feel strongly about? Which are you guilty of? It’s by no means complete – perhaps you’ve got a couple more that make you go ‘doh when you see them.

Please share – we’d all like to know what else to avoid.

To your continued success,


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  1. Steven,

    How about no profile picture? Message: I don’t want you to get to know me and forget about that relationship you’re trying to build!

    I’m shocked that there are still profiles without them.

  2. Debra,

    I try to understand that some people either don’t want to or don’t take a flattering picture, so this still fits within my realm of “personal choice”.

    It’s reasonable though – and I understand it is a very real message.

    I have seen some awful pictures though, and that’s just scary;-)


  3. I agree with Debra’s no profile pic. It’s either that or they’re too lazy beyond understanding. Uploading a profile photo is one of the basic to-dos when creating a profile, and not having one is unacceptable.

  4. I have my own linkedIn profile and i’m guilty with most of the things that you mentioned above. I haven’t been using my LinkedIn profile now. I know that LinkedIn is important to add weight to my online presence. I will see if i can make it look good and make it my online resume.

  5. Hunter,

    A fair position to take.

    And then there are the “non-picture” pictures:
    – family photos
    – vacation pictures
    – pets
    – children
    – cartoons
    – landscapes
    These users are pretty much thumbing their nose at the system. I’d still rather have nothing there;-)


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