What Should You Exclude From Your LinkedIn Profile?

Social media offers limitless opportunities to help you network and propel your career. However, there are limits you should place on what to include in your LinkedIn profile. Here are some things you should definitely consider excluding:

A Perplexing Photograph

LinkedIn is not the place to be mysterious when it comes to your profile photo. Not using a picture makes you less likely to be viewed, according to A photo of someone or something other than you (e.g., spouse, baby, pet, graphic) is mystifying, and sends the message that you’re not ready to network. Think of a house for sale with no pictures—it wouldn’t garner much interest, would it? Your photo should show you at your professional best. Avoid the bait-and-switch effect of a “glamour” shot or “younger you,” which sends the message that you’re deceptive. Interviewers expect you to look just the way you are.

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Just as an effective resume doesn’t list everything you’ve ever done, LinkedIn doesn’t either. Don’t include the first job you had at a fast food restaurant, especially if it was a long time ago and is irrelevant to your current career. That’s too much information (TMI). Conversely, a profile that’s chock-full of your past (relevant) job experiences really doesn’t do much good if there are no descriptions to accompany them, or too little information (TLI). Take the time to write at least a few lines under each position, focusing on results, not simply tasks.

Text Talk

Abbreviations and acronyms, such as OMG, LOL, and “u” in place of “you,” should be avoided. If you’re working in or seeking a professional or conservative role, keep your language professional so you’re sending the right message. After all, you’re not texting a friend. Use correct language and thoughts, as suggests. LinkedIn really isn’t the place for LOL-worthy stories.

Inapt Interests, So-So Skills

Your favorite sports, animals, colors, etc. don’t belong in your LinkedIn profile, unless they’re part of your job as, say, an athlete, veterinarian, interior designer, etc. The same is true for skills that are irrelevant or obvious, like Internet searching. Almost everyone can do that. Keep your profile focused and full of relevant information and experiences. Even if you love your side projects or quirky interests, you should save them for Facebook, a more appropriate place to share with your connections. Don’t put anything out there that might cost you a job or offend people.

Name Add-Ons

The name field is for your name only. Not a nickname you’ve earned, even in business, like John Doe Money Maker. Neither is it for proudly highlighting your number of connections, like Jane Doe 2000 Connections and Counting. In addition to not looking professional, you’ll be ruining it for businesses that use LinkedIn to synchronize data with their email system. You might get an email to “John Doe Money Maker,” because the data is corrupted, which also violates LinkedIn’s terms of service.

Top Secrets

Let’s say you’re working on a project at an accounting firm or other client-serving business. A confidentiality agreement would prohibit you from disclosing information about the client or details of your role. Any undisclosed projects at a company, such as a new product launch, should not be publicized through social media—it could mean losing your job. Be careful not to leak this type of information on LinkedIn.

‘Little’ Lies and Fluffy Stuff

Two big LinkedIn no-no’s are saying you worked for a company you didn’t work for or listing someone you know as a connection when they really aren’t. As with your resume, always be forthcoming about your experience and involvement. Steer clear of perceived fraudulent information. Fluffing up your achievements and contacts at a company can be easily disproven by a “connection” who doesn’t know you, or who knows what you actually did at the company. So keep it real.