7 Ways To Make A Bad First Impression on LinkedIn

It’s should be of no news to you that first impressions are important. According to one online source, ‘a first impression is the event when one person first encounters another person and forms a mental image of that person. It can sometimes form an accurate representation of the person, depending on the observer and the person being observed.’ (But sometimes the representation is inaccurate, imagine that!)

Whether the first impression happens in .7, 7, 17 or 70 seconds is left to be debated, but we do know it does happen rather quickly. You see, hear and observe and instantly form an opinion about that person; a quick judgment is made. Whether meeting someone in person or online, the timing is similar, with the same results. Here’s a thought. Do you like to be judged? I don’t, but I am. You probably don’t, but you are. So is there anything you can do to make a good first impression, since we all will be making many ‘first impressions’ in life? Of course there is. The first step to making a great first impression is knowing what people observe when they first meet someone online or in person!

Here are some of my own observations and first impression frustrations.

In person: Bad haircut. Body Odor. Bad Breath. Food stuck in teeth. Clammy handshake. Foul language. Rudeness. Too much familiarity, too quickly. Talking about themselves and never asking a single question. Wanting to exchanging business cards before a conversation even happens. Expecting a referral immediately.

Online: Missing profile pictures. No bio information. No web links. No recognizable logo. Too many self-promotional posts. Asking for ‘Likes’. Asking for ‘Follow Back’. Bad grammar. Foul language.  

Prepare to impress!

If you do any local networking, you prepare for the event, don’t you? Don’t you want to meet new people, mingle, network and get results? The same should be done for your online events and unfortunately, or fortunately whichever way you look at it, your online networking happens 24/7. Therefore, being prepared is even more important! I recently asked my More In Media Facebook fans a question.

What is the #1 thing that really bothers or bugs you when you first check out a LinkedIn profile of a new/potential connection?


My fans had interesting things to say and I appreciate their feedback, as always. Since I’ve been comparing the online first impressions with in person first impressions, let’s continue that trend. Let’s compare LinkedIn observations with in person observations. Here it goes.

Doing This On LinkedIn = Doing This In Person

  1. Have an incomplete profile = Not dressing for success.
  2. Give little or no details about the job you hold = Not wearing a name tag and not having a business card on you to exchange.
  3. Have no profile picture = Not smiling and making eye contact.
  4. Have many obvious grammar and spelling errors = Not participating in stimulating and/or intelligent conversations.
  5. Not sending a personal invite to connect = No personal hand shake and introductions.
  6. Spamming your new connections = Blatant self-promotion. Let’s talk about only me, ever.
  7. Keyword Stuffing = Dropping names and connections but never really stating what you do.


I certainly know we all get busy. But may I suggest you put some of these LinkedIn observations on your radar and take measures to improve your LinkedIn and online first impressions? One day I’d like to meet you and shake your hand. Wouldn’t it be nice if I recognized you?


photo credit: Victor1558 via photopin cc

Dorien Morin-van Dam

Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to come read my latest article.

I am a busy mom of 4 kids (3 teens) and 3 Labradors and I run my consultancy called More In Media while the kids study and play hard. [If you like play on words – my last name is Morin, so More In Media is just that.] I focus on small to medium size businesses in local markets and primarily help them build a loyal, local following online.

I am proud to say I am Dutch-born and American-by-choice. I love to walk, run, read, bake, and cook for large groups (as in – my family) I’ve lived in the Netherlands, Brazil and now live in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Let me know how I can help you and your business move forward with social media marketing.

Dorien Morin-van Dam

Dorien Morin-van Dam

Dorien Morin-van Dam
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