When discussing embarrassing things people have done on social media, we will immediately conjure up questionable comments and head-scratching remarks made on Facebook and Twitter. However, there are other social networks where we could ask, "What the hell?" And one of these social media outlets is LinkedIn, a venue for professionals who sometimes err.
LinkedIn has been one of the social media homes of flubs, errors and downright nastiness for a long time now. Instead of being the primary epicenter of professionals and business owners, it is gradually turning into an arena of grownup individuals behaving like teenagers and jobseekers pretending social media isn’t a real world.
People have done some very embarrassing things over the years on LinkedIn. Think of it this way: a lot of what you see on Facebook and Twitter has been replicated on LinkedIn and then some. Since human resources departments are using LinkedIn, as well as other social networks, as criteria for job applicants, it is best if you start taking the social media outlet more seriously.
Here are 10 embarrassing things people have done on LinkedIn:
1. Pretending They Weren't Your Enemy in the Past
One day, you open up your email and you notice a LinkedIn connection request that reads: "I’d like to add you to my professional network". Your interest has piqued. You find out who it is and it turns out to be someone you once knew in high school or college.
You then ask yourself out loud: "Wait a minute. Didn’t this person make fun of me because of my acne? Oh my goodness. This person used to steal my backpack and hide it somewhere in school. Why the heck would they want to connect with me?"
Evidently, this individual has forgotten that they were pretty much your enemy in the past. Just imagine if you actually met them in real life after connecting on LinkedIn. "I remember you used to make fun of me all time." How awkward…
2. Like, Like and Like to the Extreme
Sometimes you post something – an article, a message or an update – and it gets a couple of “likes”. So far, so good. Unfortunately, however, there is one person in your professional network that “likes” every single thing you post. In fact, they’re “liking” to the extreme. Who knows what’s behind this? Perhaps they want to get on your good side; maybe it’s the bully who thinks he can make amends by clicking “like” on everything you post.
3. Writing Articles When They Really Shouldn't
The Internet has provided us with the opportunity to vent, pontificate and compose. LinkedIn has also become an outlet where you can publish articles. There is one person in your network who is constantly publishing articles. Although they are interesting topics, the article has numerous spelling and grammar mistakes. In actuality, they shouldn’t be writing any articles. If they must, then they could at least proofread the piece prior to publishing it.
4. Treating LinkedIn Like Facebook
For some reason, users have started to treat LinkedIn like Facebook and Twitter. What does this necessarily mean? Well, for instance, instead of commenting on something business-related, a user will comment incessantly about their television viewing habits or their food consumption.
"I’m, like, watching the fifth season of, like, Downton Abbey."
Or: "I’m, like, eating my, like, fifth helping of, like, mashed potatoes and gravy."
5. Uploading, Ahem, Unprofessional Photos
It’s a common but often ignored tip: uploading professional photos on LinkedIn. Instead of posting an image of you sitting in your vehicle naked while smoking marijuana, you should be uploading a picture of you wearing professional attire and smiling. This is a much better alternative to something that could be misconstrued as unprofessional (among other things).
6. Connecting with You to Sell Something
In most cases, a fellow LinkedIn user will connect with you because they’re in the same industry, they work in the same company (or used to), or they know you personally. In other cases, however, some LinkedIn users will connect with you for the following reasons:
- They will try to sell you a product or service.
- They are participating in a 419 scam.
- They want to connect with you to connect with someone else.
- They wonder if you’re hiring.
Like Facebook, connecting with people these days on LinkedIn seems like a disingenuous act. Connecting for the sake of connecting with everybody is a futile endeavor (see below).
7. Attempting to Connect with Everybody
The objective for common LinkedIn users is to reach the ever-important 500 connections milestone. What one achieves from this, no one actually knows, except the fact that you have 500 connections. Perhaps it’s like Facebook: you try to have as many "friends" as possible. However, much like trying to hook up with as many girls as possible at a bar and being rejected each time, it makes you feel sorry for them.
8. Listing Every Single Job You've Ever Had
In 7th grade, you babysat a neighbor’s child. In 10th grade, you worked as a camp counselor. In 12th grade, you walked dogs. In university, you walked for charity. Indeed, some of these aren’t actually jobs, but you may think they are. Moreover, every job you have had, you will list it on your LinkedIn profile. This makes you want to shake your head in shame.
Think of it this way: a LinkedIn profile is a 24/7 résumé. You wouldn’t post that you were a babysitter when you were 12 years on your résumé now, would you? Uh, don’t answer that!
9. Posting Insulting Comments
Someone in the LinkedIn universe has posted a comment talking about how Democrats will hurt big businesses, while Republicans will help small businesses. You take offense to this and you start to insult the author and others who have commented in favor of the article. Suddenly, the political vitriol becomes a lot more intense and you begin to make incendiary remarks. A LinkedIn posting has suddenly metastasized into a YouTube comments section. Oh no!
10. Adding Job Skills That Aren't Really Skills
You’re good at crosswords, making the bed, and standing on your head. Great! But they’re not really skills you should be adding on your professional LinkedIn profile. Some people in your network have even have gone as far putting down "sex" as a job skill. Here’s a bit of help if you’re stuck on this one:
Coding = job skill
Texting = not a job skill
Transcribing = job skill
Making toast = not a job skill
It’s that simple.
We’ve all made mistakes on the Internet. You made an error. Someone you know erred. No one is perfect. That’s why they put erasers on the back of pencils.
As previously noted, a LinkedIn account and profile should be treated as a 24-hour résumé, one that is constantly updated in real-time. Moreover, you shouldn’t treat it as an anonymous comments board. The rule of thumb is: if you wouldn’t say it to your grandmother, then you shouldn’t post it on LinkedIn. This social network is a useful tool in the job hunt and workaday world. Treat it as such!
Have you ever done anything embarrassing on LinkedIn? Let us know in the comments section!