Oops! What NOT to Do While Networking on LinkedIn

I am forever grateful to my LinkedIn network and love doing whatever I can to help my connections in their networking efforts.

I enjoy being a piece in the puzzle as they network to find employment, grow their businesses, hire talent, share best practices, ask questions, learn, knowledge share, reconnect with former coworkers, etc.  With a large network, that’s a lot of effort and a big time investment, but it’s all worth it and I love to pay it forward.  What goes around comes around. And my wonderful network has helped me in more ways than I can count.

That said, there are some requests that cross the line, in my opinion, and I think that folks should remember to leverage their network without taking advantage of it.  Here are 10 of the most common LinkedIn networking mistakes that I see:

1.  Can you endorse me?

Lots of us are open networkers, meeting new folks and connecting with them for mutual networking purposes.  I’m here to help you network and will do what I can, but if I’ve never met you and have zero interaction with you yet, please don’t expect me to write a LinkedIn recommendation for you.  I’d like to think that my endorsement means a little bit more than that!

2.  Can you help me find a job?

Sorry folks.  A recruiter is someone who finds candidates to fill jobs, not someone who finds jobs to employ candidates.  This is a very key mistake that many, many people make.  I’m happy to send you my advice for job seekers, but I’m not a professional “job finder”… Those really don’t exist, folks!  🙂

3.  Do you know of any job openings that fit my profile?

Rather than coming to me with such an open-ended question, having done zero research on your part and expecting me to do all of the homework, please make some effort and do a little legwork ahead of time.  First off, please read my profile and realize that I work for one company and only recruit for that one company.  I’m not a headhunter or a professional “job finder” (see #2 above).  Secondly, visit our careers page, apply online and then come to me with some specific positions of interest in mind.  I’ll gladly do what I can to put you in touch with the appropriate decision-makers.  Having done some homework on your end will not only speed up the process, it will also put less of a burden on the person you’re asking for help!

4.  Can you please send me John Doe’s email address?

If folks wanted their email address to be public knowledge, they’d put it right on their profile (and many of them do, so please check there first!).  If not, then it’s really not my place to give out their email address to others.  Instead, use the “Introduction Request” feature on LinkedIn.  I’ll gladly pass along the introduction request to them on your behalf and then they can decide if they’d like to follow up with you.

5.  Do you know anyone at Acme Company?

Probably!  In fact, I probably know (or am connected to) dozens of people at that company.  Rather than asking me to stop what I’m doing and run a search of my database to find a list of all possible contacts at a company, please do a little homework and run a search yourself.  You can easily find out the answer and then send an introduction request to me (or perhaps someone else in your network) who can introduce you to the perfect target contact.  After all, only you know the reason why you want to reach out and who the best contact person at that company might be.

6.  I’m interested in a position at Acme Company and would like to apply for position #1234.  Can we set up a time to speak?

Great!  But please note that I have not worked for “Acme” Company in seven years, so an interview with me won’t get you very far… Oops!  Please read my profile carefully before reaching out for help.

7.  Can you please look at my resume and send me your feedback / suggestions?

Holy moly… this one really gets me!  As much as I’d love to help, these requests would take up a full 40-hour workweek (or more!) if I complied with every such request I receive.  Resume writing is a very time-intensive process that requires two-way discussion, extensive editing and re-writing, etc. Professional Resume Writers charge big bucks for their services because it’s no easy task.  This request is something that I simply don’t have the bandwidth to help with, unless we’re married, related by blood or you promise me your firstborn.  😉

8.  Let’s chat on the phone, grab coffee sometime, meet up for lunch, etc.

Often times, these requests are intentionally vague, asking for time on my busy calendar, yet not disclosing the reason for the meeting.  It would be much more professional and forthcoming of you to disclose the full details up front so that I can decide if it will be a good investment of my time.  And even if the reasons are legitimate, please don’t be offended if I can’t take you up on your offer…  I’m a busy working wife and mother with a jam-packed calendar who is already struggling to get everything done in a day!  🙂

9.  Hi Tracy / Hi {FirstName} / Hi trusted friend / Hi James

When reaching out to contacts on LinkedIn, please be sure to get their name right.  “Tracy” is close (but still wrong), {FirstName} is clearly some mass email error, “Trusted Friend” is obviously an impersonal email blast (and immediate delete on my part) and no, I’m not some guy named James!  haha  It’s the quickest way to turn off your recipient… please personalize the note and get their name right!

10.  Love your picture / Nice smile / Hello Beautiful…

LinkedIn is a professional networking site, not Match.com.  Please refrain from trying to “pick up” your connections or come across as a stalker!  Ew. Immediate trip to my “Remove Connections” page!  🙂


What are some of the funniest or most inappropriate requests that you’ve received on LinkedIn?  Please share them below…  I’m sure there are lots of other great examples out there!

About the Author: Stacy is the Most Connected Woman on LinkedIn with 30,000 first-level connections and is #9 Most Connected Worldwide out of 100 million total users. Stacy has spent her 15-year career recruiting in-house for Fortune 500 technology companies and has been training others in cutting-edge social media recruiting techniques since 2004. Stacy lives in San Diego, CA and is an active blogger at www.stacyzapar.com.  Follow her on Twitter @StacyZapar.

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