The Biggest Mistake People Make on LinkedIn

At 200 million plus users, LinkedIn is one of the biggest employment marketplaces in the world.  Because of this, people called sourcers spend their lives on LinkedIn looking for people for their clients and employers to hire.

When sourcers find a likely prospect (this could be you!), they want to send them an email or call them. And they can’t. Because very few people include their contact information on their LinkedIn profile. That is the biggest mistake most people make on LinkedIn.

Would you leave your email address and your mobile number off of your resume or your consulting marketing materials? “No! Of course not!” you say. Then don’t leave them off of your LinkedIn profile either – because it might be your only resume or marketing piece a potential employer or client ever sees.

“But people can send me an In Mail,” you say. Uh huh. They cost money and they have a high failure rate. A really high failure rate. I shudder thinking about In Mail. Really. I have to change the subject. Now.

“But I don’t want to be contacted by sourcers,” you say. OK, but without contact information no one else can contact you either. And, if that’s the case, why are you even on LinkedIn?


OK. You’ve got me there. If it’s all about groups for you, and you’re one of the lucky few who doesn’t want to change jobs this year, I suppose you don’t need to add contact information to your LinkedIn profile.

But, if you’re part of the vast majority who would like a new job, then add your contact info to your profile now. Sourcers love it when you list both an email address and a mobile number because it makes it easy for them to get in touch in with you. Provide at least an email address.

If you’re concerned about privacy, set up a separate email for LinkedIn and forward it to your primary email. If you’re concerned about what your boss will think, don’t provide a phone number. Just be sure to make it easy for everyone — sourcers, former colleagues, whoever — to connect you to your next great job or consulting opportunity.

I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles and blog at AvidCareerist. For more information, you can find my LinkedIn profile here or email me at

This post originally appeared on

Views: 8359

Comment by Amber on May 2, 2013 at 11:44am

Thanks, Donna! Although some days I would just settle for candidates putting it on their resume...

Comment by Victoria Rotante on May 3, 2013 at 10:26am

Hi Donna,

Excellent point.

Social media is all about expanding access and engagement; without contact information, there is neither access nor engagement :-)

I liked your suggestion of setting up a "LinkedIn" email account that can a directed to one's primary email- thereby protecting privacy while still allowing access. Great idea!

The same can be done with a phone number.

Vickie Rotante

Comment by Raphael Fang on May 3, 2013 at 12:05pm

Some Linkedin users don't treat their profile as their resumes.

Comment by Donna Svei on May 7, 2013 at 1:26pm

Amber...haha, Victoria...thank you, Ralph...a girl can dream! Donna

Comment by Kristine Ketel on May 7, 2013 at 1:54pm

Great article.  As an Internet Researcher for a niche recruiting firm, Donna's email suggestion is right on the mark.  Listing an email address and a direct phone number greatly increases your chances of being found for potential jobs as well as being tapped as a knowledge expert for writers, reporters, broadcasters, bloggers, etc. 

Comment by Dan Roffino on May 7, 2013 at 2:19pm

Thank you for explaining how people need to take advantage of LinkedIn. This service can result in becoming one step closer to a dream job. One mistake on this public profile could lead to negative outcomes, such as being brushed aside for the position your after.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 8, 2013 at 10:00am
The other biggest mistake people make on LinkedIn is when their profile doesn't match their resume. That would seem to be a no brainer but I run across it all the time, to the point that now before I submit a resume I double check the LinkedIn profile to be sure the job dates and education match. It only took three candidaes being dropped before it became policy to check. Duh! Not sure who is the dummy, me or the candidate but like that mule, now I get it.
Comment by chandra bodapati on May 11, 2013 at 6:54pm

Donna & others....

If I were top notch researcher, I would not want any of my hot prospects to have their email ID or Contact phone  on LinkedIn. This way when I research and get to the prospect, I will be one of few who bothered to research and get to them.

At eGrabber we have done extensive email-marketing research over the past few years. What we found is people who don't have published emails, when contacted are more likely to respond to your email  than those who have their email publicly listed on LinkedIn. That is because, when an email is listed, you get every recruiter or sales person emailing them if their profile somehow had any type of keyword match.

If everyone can get hold of some person, you have no strategic advantage.

If you are a 3rd party recruiter, you will want people to hide their contact information - this makes companies more likely to hire a sourcerer or a recruiting consultant. Everyone needs to understand where their strategic advantage is coming from,

eGrabber - Inventors of the best research tool for sales & recruiting professionals.

Comment by Donna Svei on May 11, 2013 at 8:10pm

Helpful comments all. 

On a search I'm just completing, I sourced from a database that didn't have contact info. I went to LinkedIn to look at backgrounds and get contact info. Hardly anyone offered it. Grrrr. This is a retained executive search where my ability to assess candidates is at least as important as my ability to source them. Thus, I'm not too worried about competing with other recruiters.

If someone looked intriguing on LinkedIn, I had to figure out the syntax of their employers' email address and then reach out to them. My other option was calling. If someone had particularly intrigued me, and they didn't respond to my email, I picked up the phone. 

And yes, there shouldn't be factual discrepancies between LI profiles and resumes. Makes you pause, doesn't it? 

I'm loving this conversation and hearing multiple perspectives on this topic.

Thank you,


Comment by chandra bodapati on May 11, 2013 at 8:37pm

Donna -

>I went to LinkedIn to look at backgrounds and get contact info. Hardly anyone offered it.

Here is a tool in beta that gets you email ID if you just type in Name/Company



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