A LinkedIn profile may be little more than a digital resume, but as with resumes, some things are more than turnoffs--they're red flags.
Pressed for time, startup founders must learn to read between the lines to and spot faux pas that may indicate deeper issues or total incompatibility. With this in mind, we asked 11 YEC members to share some rookie LinkedIn behaviors that inspired them to quickly click away to the next candidate.
1. Reciprocal recommendations.
When I see a profile littered with recommendations, I'm always disappointed if those were given only by folks that this person has recommended as well. These "tit for tat" reciprocal testimonials reek of resume-stuffing and gaming the system. I'm much more impressed by authentic, ideally unprompted referrals by managers and business partners.--Amit Kumar, CardSpring
2. Business name-dropping.
A LinkedIn profile should promote you and your work experiences and not become a personal online soap box. Calling out your "best buds" or your "high-profile contacts" seems unprofessional to those who may not know you personally. While you may indeed have high-profile business connections and celebrity friends, that knowledge is best left for a later meeting.--Kim Kaupe, ZinePak
3. A job per year.
When building a startup, it's critical to have folks who are in it for the long run. You want commitment, and the confidence to know that your team is going to build the business together. The biggest red flag for me is someone who has worked at five companies in five years. My fear is that the individual either burned out or burned bridges; neither of those indicate I might have a long-term partner.--Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
4. Use of inappropriate language.
LinkedIn is a professional network and needs to be treated as such. People who use lewd language (yes, this does exist on LinkedIn) or improper language come off as unprofessional or that they just flat out don't care, both of which are problematic attitudes from a business standpoint.--Stanley Meytin, True Film Production
5. Exaggerated skills.
It's a huge red flag to me when someone claims to have mastered all of the complex aspects of marketing. You're a Ninja in marketing automation, SEO and PPC? Oh, and you're also a rockstar with social media marketing and buyer personas? I don't buy it. Own your strengths, but don't pretend to be a pro at the entire gamut. There is a huge talent gap out there--don't pretend it doesn't exist.--Justin Gray, LeadMD
6. An unprofessional profile photo.
One of the first impressions another professional has of your LinkedIn profile is your photo. Don't include photos with other people in them. Choose a flattering photo of your face without clutter and don't use filters or contrasts. Ensure the photo is well lit and that you aren't sharing a generic image with no personality. It's unfortunate to see an unprofessional photo on someone's profile.--Brian Honigman, BrianHonigman.com
7. Outdated information.
People who don't take the time to update their profiles at least once a year are telling me that they don't care about their online brand, which in this day and age is just foolish. If they are content to have the profile showcase a position they held three years ago, this also tells me that they are complacent in their current employment situation.--Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work
8. A weak headline.
From my point of view, the headline portion of a profile is the chance for a person to sell themselves, from their professional goals to personal interests. A headline on LinkedIn serves as an attention grabber and an essential one-sentence sales pitch. It's the first thing I look at when checking out profiles on LinkedIn, and it can surprisingly reveal a lot about the person behind the profile.--Phil Laboon, Eyeflow Internet Marketing
9. Embellished job titles.
Yes, everyone wants their LinkedIn profile to be as impressive as possible. However, I too often come across situations where people over embellish their role/job title. It's important for your job history to be accurate rather than misleading. You don't want to miss out on an opportunity that's a good fit because you made somebody think you were overqualified for a particular project or role.--Cassie Petrey, Crowd Surf
10. Excessive use of keywords.
While LinkedIn isn't filled with spam the same way Twitter is, there are a number of accounts owned and run by users intent on relentlessly sending you spam once you make a connection. Steer clear of users that go out of their way to over-optimize their profiles to come up on relevant search terms.--Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep