3 LinkedIn Networking Fails

Okay, I’m going to try not to be ranty because it is nice to have a LinkedIn profile that draws attention.


I’ve recently received a spate of interesting inbox messages on LinkedIn, and as I was evaluating them, they made me think of:

  • My value as perceived by others
  • What happens to networking when it’s used as currency
  • Actions and agendas and asks, oh my!

This value is perceived by both guinea pigs, but to a sad end.

In an earlier incarnation of this blog (and my career), I talked a lot about career resources. So for today, enjoy the career resource resurrection!

3 Ways Not to Network on LinkedIn (Or Anywhere Else, Really)

1. “Congratulations on <insert achievement here>! Is <job position> still open in your company?”

Congratulations lose their appearance of sincerity when you combine them with an ask for yourself in the next breath.

You’ll do yourself more favors by cultivating and nurturing an even-handed dialogue versus throwing an immediate “Let’s talk about me” bid for attention.

Sure, you still have an agenda, but it’ll be accepted far more easily if you leave off the pouncing.

Or just, you know, do a straight inquiry about the job. It’s okay!


This cub learned through example.


2. “Thanks for accepting my invitation to connect! <Cue far too many paragraphs about why I should use your product/support your agenda/just click this link already>.”


“After viewing your profile, do you use LinkedIn for <something that has nothing to do with what I do>?  <link>  

I get that we’re all mostly on LinkedIn to sell something.

Will we catch the eye of an employer, acquire information, make sales, make connections? Where does our value rank? How do we get our voice heard?

Even these seemingly guileless posts are heavily calculated bids for your attention and support.

But there’s something majorly off-putting about being hit right after connecting with a form letter and a link. Even if you take the time to personalize it with my name and a few details, to me, that’s not building a relationship. That’s not a dialogue.

But it is pushing your agenda on me.

And if you seemingly viewed my profile but try to sell me something that has little or nothing to do with me? Fail.

What you could do instead: Just ask me what I do or what I’m looking for. If it’s something you provide, THEN share your link.


See this? This is what this kangaroo values. You’d do well to heed it.


3. Forgetting that oops, you didn’t treat the person very well in the past.

There’s that old saying, or there should be, that you never know who’s going to help you get your next job, so it pays to be respectful.

There’s another saying I think I made up that I use when talking about Yammer networks: “What happens offline is reflected online.”

I have an acquaintance who has done a great job of ignoring me–to my face!–over the years.

But now we’ve got a job opening in my department.

Suddenly this person wants to connect and talk about it.

I’m a benefit-of-the-doubt person, but I’d say “Hello,” and this person would cut me dead a la the Victorian era, so much as I find the Victorian era fascinating, there was not much doubt left to have.

You know how word gets around. I quickly found out that this person will ignore anyone until they decide you’re someone to use, and then, well…“Oozing charm from every pore, he oiled his way around the floor.” – Henry Higgins.

And now I was someone to use.

Is this the kind of person you’d want to work with?

There are worse things, sure. But had this person treated me better in my personal life, I may have given more thought to helping them in their professional life. As it was, they self-selected themselves out of the running.


We all make mistakes. That’s one of the sure things of life, so we’ve got that going for us. But if you find yourself doing any of the above, cease and desist. And if you see me doing it, please tell me!

What’s your take? Do you find that people are skipping over the usual conversational steps when they’re on LinkedIn? Does it bug you–or not?



LinkedIn Glamour Posts: Blatant Marketing, or Sincere Sentiments?

I don’t know this person. She showed up on my LinkedIn News Feed, so what I’m about to share is public with no need to protect names.

My other disclaimer is: I can’t stop seeing these posts as blatant marketing in disguise.


It’s a formula I see more and more on LinkedIn:

1. Write a heartfelt sentiment that includes these elements: Where you started out, where you are now, your gratitude, your thankfulness.
2. Include a picture where you just happen to be completely glamorized or “just being natural!” at work while amazingly well-lit and at a great angle. (Hey, no shame in this; that’s what the digital age is for, taking control of our images.)
3. Press post.
4. Sit back and bask in the 10s of thousands of likes and “Congratulations!” or “blessings to you” comments from complete strangers.
5. While you’re sitting there, don’t forget to analyze all the clicks on your profile, where your company pitch just so happens to be.

Did I just convince you to try it yourself? Go ahead, then. Maybe this is the best way to get someone to find out about your company, or your viability as a future hire. I don’t know.

I do know that I see less clicks on posts without the glammed-up front:


Yet which one seems more sincere to you?

The formula + picture seems like a major scam on people’s time and sentiments. And that’s not what I use LinkedIn for.

Even the thankfulness in general is an interesting blend of personal and professional–but the best companies do think of their employees as people, not numbers.

Fortunately, it’s dead easy to scroll on by no matter what’s being presented.

I just can’t help but wonder: Are people taken in by this?

And what’s next?

Read: 5 People We Wish Would Stop Using Linkedin

A good read!

Of course there are more than five types of people we wish would stop using LinkedIn. From opportunistic “inspirational!” posts to the person who connects only to go into sales mode immediately after, marketing is marketing, whatever gloss is put on it.

Pro tip: If you’re unsure as to whether your own status update, profile picture, or connection request belongs on LinkedIn or Facebook, go with Facebook.


Is this my best side? From kids.nationalgeographic.com