When using LinkedIn keep in mind that you are held accountable for the person or business that is portrayed on your profile. Unfortunately, some people have learned this lesson the hard way - and had it written about by Doug Gross on CNN.
Kelly Blazek, a seasoned professional on LinkedIn known for building a job bank for marketers, received a connection request from 26 year-old Diana Mekota. After receiving the request, Blazek sent an attacking response, which has caused an uproar on sites like Reddit and Buzzfeed. Her response: “Your invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you, and tacky.” She continued her message by writing, “Wow, I cannot wait to let every 26 year old jobseeker mine my top-tier marketing connections to help them land a job.” Unfortunately she continued her rant. “I love the sense of entitlement in your generation. 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.” After responding in an apologetic way, Mekota decided to share her horrifying experience with the rest of the web.
Use LinkedIn the Right Way
Remember, nothing you do online stays private. LinkedIn is an extremely useful site for several reasons and it is important not to stray from the benefits. Companies and business professionals use LinkedIn to connect with one another whether it’s for job opportunities or to simply build their web of networks. It can be a great tool to build a company brand and create awareness of your company. If you are using LinkedIn for any reason other than to benefit professionally, then you probably should reconsider your presence on LinkedIn.
Communication is Key
As we learned from the story above, the biggest area of caution is communicating directly with an individual through the site. One bad response or email can wipe out all those titles, accomplishments, and connections you worked so hard to display on your profile. You can go from “Employee of The Year” to rudest person on LinkedIn. Avoid this by either going with the generic messages that LinkedIn provides for you or responding with the mindset that you are a representation of the company. It’s okay not to accept every request to connect; in some cases it isn’t a good idea to accept a request from someone who is interested in your company or that you plan on interviewing because this could give the wrong impression of interest in the candidate. For your personal benefit, it’s best not to look at a job seekers profile before an interview, so you can steer clear of preconceived options of the individual.
What Goes on the Internet, Stays on the Internet
Lastly, remember that everything said and posted on the Internet is forever present. Nothing is ever permanently deleted because anyone can save the content and share it with the rest of the world. A bad response from a company can go viral within seconds damaging the reputation of the brand.