How Not to Respond to a LinkedIn Request

Job bank head Kelly Blazek is working with a reduced social media presence these days, after a rejection she sent in response to a LinkedIn connection request went viral.

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(Photo Credit: Jeroen van Oostrom/freedigitalphotos.net)

Cleveland-based Blazek runs a local job bank listserv. Recent graduate Diana Mekota was planning to return to the area, after graduating from John Carroll University in Rochester, NY in June. As students are told to do, she attempted to expand her network by connecting with important people via LinkedIn. The response she got from Blazek was, shall we say, less than professional:

"We have never met. We have never worked together. You are quite young and green on how business connections work with senior professionals. Apparently you have heard that I produce a Job Bank, and decided it would be stunningly helpful for your career prospects if I shared my 960+ LinkedIn connections with you -- a total stranger who has nothing to offer me.

"Your invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you, and tacky. Wow, I cannot wait to let every 25-year-old jobseeker mine my top-tier marketing connections to help them land a job. Love the sense of entitlement in your generation. And therefore I enjoy denying your invite, and giving you the dreaded 'I Don't Know' [redacted name] because it's the truth.

"Oh, and about your request to actually receive my Job Bank along with the 7,300 other subscribers to my service? That's denied, too. I suggest you join the other Job Bank in town. Oh wait -- there isn't one.

"You're welcome for your humility lesson for the year. Don't ever reach out to senior practitioners again and assume their carefully curated list of connections is available to you, just because you want to build your network.

"Don't ever write me again."

Stunned, Mekota uploaded a screenshot of the email to Imgur, and posted it to Facebook and Reddit. BuzzFeed picked it up, and so did a local radio station.

Blazek issued an apology, saying, in part:

"My Job Bank listings were supposed to be about hope, and I failed that. In my harsh reply notes, I lost my perspective about how to help, and I also lost sight of kindness, which is why I started the Job Bank listings in the first place.

"The note I sent to Diana was rude, unwelcoming, unprofessional and wrong. I am reaching out to her to apologize. Diana and her generation are the future of this city. I wish her all the best in landing a job in this great town."

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Blazek has deleted her Twitter account, blog, and hidden most of the contents of her own LinkedIn profile.

Proof, once again, that a viral story isn't always the best thing for your career.

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