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?



Why Yammer Is NOT Facebook (And Why That’s Good)

A great series of posts are really detailing what Yammer is, and what it isn’t—including what it isn’t supposed to be in the first place!

At work, we emphatically stress that Yammer is NOT Facebook, both internally with coworkers and externally with our customers.

We also don’t call it social media. “Social networking” is dicey enough! I blame the “social” part and the stigma attached to that multifaceted word, but I’ll get to the “networking” part in a bit.

Instead, we term Yammer a “professional learning network.”

Why? Because learning—about ideas, processes, goals, and projects—is what really happens once your company or your customers start using Yammer.

And in the process, you learn more about what makes your company succeed.

Here’s how:

From the softer side of a Photography group to a robust project group that will impact both your corporate goals and your customers’ continuing satisfaction, what you’re seeing is collaboration. You’re seeing input. You’re seeing people sharing their ideas where they wouldn’t have over email or in person, often simply because they weren’t asked.

We’re all used to emailing or calling meetings with our core groups. We all have that circle we think of first. When’s the last time you thought of asking an Accounting person to come to a Marketing design brainstorm for a Facebook meme?

And yet. Post that design brainstorm project on Yammer and watch the insight pour in from all over the company. Maybe next time you hold that offline meeting, you’ll ask a few more people than just your go-to circle.

And sure, networking happens. Chatter happens. You get more than one person in a room with a common cause, you’re going to get people talking about off-topic things. But on Yammer, it happens naturally and seamlessly, and not at the expense of the work you need to do.

One thing you do need:

A strong community manager or community management team to help guide and shape your approach. Yammer is made up of groups. Corral any topic you want in a group, and you’ll keep the perceived “noise” level manageable.

Follow Microsoft Tech Community contributor Jacob Skaue for more, including how to get Yammer rolling in your company. Follow me, too!


An exemplary pic found on Pinterest

Ask Why, Not “What Do You Do?”

It makes sense. We all ask the “So, what do you do for a living?” or a variant when we meet someone in a professional (or otherwise) setting.

What would happen if, instead of or following hard on the heels of that question, we ask, “Why do you enjoy what you do?”

Sure, you may get some flat “I don’t!” responses, but for the others, you may find out something really cool.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s Simon Terry’s spin.