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Posted by Hays UAE, March 2015

There’s no escaping it, hiring managers and recruiters use LinkedIn to find and scrutinise candidates. Seasoned recruiters will be able to spot a false claim on an online profile very quickly, so make sure you can back up every statement you make.

Here are six of the most common LinkedIn mistakes we have seen that you need to avoid:

1. Giving yourself a promotion

It can be tempting to go back in time to give yourself a promotion. You may well have taken care of managing a broad range of tasks while working as an accounting assistant but that doesn’t make you an accountant unless you are the real deal. Expert screeners know when something just doesn’t add up and will see you as dishonest. Elevating your title from “Finance Manager” to “Finance Director” because you worked in a small firm and you were the most senior finance person could put your credibility at risk unnecessarily. A fib here or there could see your chances reduced from shortlist to dust bin in a moment. Even if you made it to a shortlist, you’ll be left floundering in a job interview when peppered with questions testing your work history in detail.

2. Don’t take credit for the work of others

The great thing about LinkedIn is it’s so accessible but this also means any claims you make can be seen by lots of people, including co-workers and former colleagues. Responsibilities tell a potential employer about your job role while achievements describe your job performance, and so both should be showcased on your LinkedIn profile – but make sure they really are yours. Claiming an achievement that belongs to someone else is dishonest and will only damage your reputation in the long run.

3. Papering over your job timeline history

Where you worked, exactly when and for how long is a key focus for any potential employer. Don’t fudge dates and try and fill gaps with fake employment experience. Also, make sure any claim you make in your online profile is consistent with what you outline in your resume and employment applications. Inconsistencies are a red flag for those screening candidates.

4. Quantity is not quality

Whilst it is tempting to try and connect with as many people as possible, the real strength of your LinkedIn network lies in connecting to those in your industry, profession or sector. Accepting every invite that comes your way weakens the quality of your network. Always view the profile of someone asking to connect with you to ensure they are relevant to your network.

5. Include an image but make it real

Ensure you include a professional-looking head and shoulders shot of yourself with your profile – preferably smiling. Avoid heavy photo shopping – you want to be recognised at job interviews – as well as wedding shots with your spouse cropped out or holidays shots showing you in casual gear.

6. As recommended by... a friend?!

LinkedIn recommendations work best when they are authentic and given by managers, clients and other people you have provided an excellent service to. Recommendations provided by peers and friends are not a credible way of building your personal brand.