Friday, May 3, 2013

How to Lose Contacts and Alienate People on LinkedIn

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LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for networking andeven finding jobs, but if you're not careful, you can end up using it in ways that alienate the very people with which you're hoping to form connections. Here are some of the most common annoying behaviors to avoid on the site.
Sending connection requests to people whom you don't know at all. The point of LinkedIn is to connect with your contacts. If you try to connect with someone who has no idea who you are, and especially if you don't bother to include a note telling him or her why you'd like to connect, you'll alienate and annoy that person. (And if you send enough of these and in response enough people indicate they don't know you, LinkedIn may even ban you from sending more connection requests.)
Sending connection requests without any context, just the default message. Even with people whom you do know, it's considered good form to personalize the connection requestmessage, even if it's just a line or two. Most folks will still accept the request if they know you, but you'll make a much better impression if you write something personalized to them.
Updating your status too often. LinkedIn isn't Facebook or Twitter; it's a business networking site. If you clog up people's feeds with constant updates or posts that won't be of general interest, you may find some people remove you from their connections entirely.
Contacting strangers about job openings to try to circumvent their company's application system. If an employer has an online job application system, they want you to use it. They don't want you to contact their employees through LinkedIn to ask if they'll pass your résumé along for you. And those employees who don't know you have no reason to vouch for you, after all.
Lying about your title or your job responsibilities. Your co-workers will look at your profile one day, and they will lose all respect for you. And worse, if a reference-checker happens to cross-reference your LinkedIn profile with your résumé and sees discrepancies, that will be a huge red flag.
Indiscriminately endorsing people. Complaints have already started about the abuse of LinkedIn's new endorsement feature, which allows people to endorse you for various skills. You might think you're doing your contacts a favor by endorsing them for a litany of skills, but people don't want their profiles crowded with things they have no real expertise in.

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