Let’s get one thing straight: LinkedIn is a professional networking site meant for workers and businesses to connect, grow, and share relevant news. LinkedIn is not, however, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram — and, for goodness’ sake, it’s definitely not Tinder. However, there are still those LinkedIn users who cross that line between being proactive and being pushy. Here’s what you can do to deal with some of the annoying things that happen on LinkedIn, so that they don’t ruin your potential career opportunities.
Invitations from complete strangers who falsely claim to be your friend/former coworker.
To accept, or not accept that invitation from a random stranger? That is the question. If someone you don’t know wants to connect, but you have zero clue as to who they are or why they’re asking, then the simple response would be to decline the invitation. If that person doesn’t know you and is requesting to add you, the least they could do is tell you why they want to connect in the first place. I mean, how long does it take to compose a sentence or two to let the receiver know why you want to connect? If you’re not worth that much of their time, then they don’t deserve to connect with you at all.
Word to the wise: Be wary of whom you connect with on LinkedIn, because some people will mistake your acceptance as an open invitation to ask you out or hit on you. No, thank you. If you ever find yourself in this awkward situation, then feel free to block that user and use it as a lesson learned. LinkedIn is not the place for hopeless (and desperate) romantics. Know when to connect, and when not to.
Spam is spam is spam, no matter how you look at it — and just because it’s on LinkedIn, doesn’t mean it’s any different.
“Just because these people either asked you to be part of their LinkedIn network or accepted your request to be part of their network doesn’t mean they are open to receiving bulk, broadcast email messages from you,” says Donna Serdula of LinkedIn Makeover.
LinkedIn allows you to have multiple emails listed on your profile, but you can only have one primary email — this is the email to which correspondences are sent, and also the one your 1st degree connections can export and spam. Serdula suggests using an alternative email address for your LinkedIn profile (and possibly all of your social profiles) to avoid the headache of having spam sent to the email account you use most. If you receive SPAM from LinkedIn connections, be sure to unsubscribe from each newsletter/email and modify your communication settings in your LinkedIn dashboard.
Requests for endorsements/recommendations from complete strangers.
Sometimes, a complete stranger will reach out to you on LinkedIn, asking for an endorsement or a recommendation. If this happens to you, do not feel obligated to comply. By giving in, you’re only encouraging the person to continue soliciting false recommendations and endorsements from LinkedIn users.
Think of it this way: If a random stranger came up to you and asked you to be a reference for a potential job offer, would you be willing to lie to the employer? My guess is no. The same concept should be applied to LinkedIn endorsements and, especially, recommendations. Believe it or not, recruiters and hiring managers actually do check candidates’ LinkedIn profiles during the hiring process.
Ultimately, LinkedIn is a place to grow your career and develop as a professional, so keep it that way. When utilized properly, LinkedIn can serve you and your career very nicely, so pick and choose your connections wisely from here on out.
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Leah Arnold-Smeets, owner of Emiko Consulting, is passionate about helping entrepreneurs capitalize on their strengths, improve on their weaknesses, and reach their full potential. Leah obtained her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration & Entrepreneurial Studies from the University of Southern California (USC).