Sunday, April 16, 2017

N for Networking

Not many of us have fine tuned the art of networking, the real face-to-face networking that is - alumni meets, office parties, get-togethers etc. In fact, a lot of us aren't even well versed with the ABC of networking which is just walking up to someone unknown, introducing ourselves and hitting upon a topic to speak about. 

To solve the problem of real life networking and to further our professional interests, providence gave us LinkedIn. Thanks to this invention, we can really walk upto anyone and ask for a job straight out, without introducing ourselves or finding a common topic to speak about. How cool is that? Not really. 

Let's all spend a silent moment thinking about all these things we do on Linkedin, and ask ourselves if we will think it decent and productive to do any of them in real life, in a social setting we attend with the precise focus of advancing our careers.

  • Cribbing - Thinly veiled attempts at cribbing about investors, entrepreneurs, recruiters, candidates etc. are silly. If you have something not so nice to tell someone, go and tell them. If you are afraid of doing that, don't tell them. If you want to let it out of your system, call up a friend and tell them. If you don't have any friends to tell it to, perhaps, the issue is with you, not with the other person. The people on your LinkedIn network aren't volunteers at AAI (Agony Aunt Inc.).
  • Posting for a job for someone else - Recently, I came across a posting by someone looking for a job for their good friend. The poster said, "She is a great HR manager with 'x' years of work experience. She is currently in a very bad job with a very bad boss blah blah blah". The poster had of course tagged the lady in question, which meant anyone on her LinkedIn network, including her bad boss and the employees in her bad company could see it. If this isn't bad blood and the antithesis of a graceful exit, what is? It may have been a signal to her company to buck up and treat her better, but it still is in bad taste.
  • Expressing interest in public - Someone posts a job profile and mentions that if you are interested, you need to send in your details to a specific email id. You promptly go there and type "Interested" in the comments' section. This serves two purposes - 
    • Exposing to everyone on your LinkedIn that you are looking for a job. Maybe, that was the idea - so your boss will know you are on the lookout and will up your salary and give you a promotion 
    • Pissing the job poster off - Didn't they expressly mention that you need to contact them separately? How lazy is typing a wayward 'Interested' in the comments' section?
  • Sending a LinkedIn request to connect with no information about yourself - At least update your profile before sending out invites to connect. Imagine walking into a networking event (not a masquerade ball) in a mask and expecting people to shake your hands and introduce themselves. Similarly, you cannot have a name that says "A. R.", 2 connections (B. S. and C. T.) and send out invites to connect. The place for that is Orkut, not even Facebook.
  • Sending a LinkedIn request to connect with too much information about yourself - I recently got a message from someone I don't know (not a 2nd degree connection) that started off with "I lost my job at XYZ company and I am urgently on the lookout..." It sounded similar to those scam emails we get about the Nigerian widow who has billions that need to be got out of the country. Do any of us want to sound like a scam, do any of us want to come across as sham on a professional networking site? Even if that's not the case, do we want to wake up the pity hormone in the receiver when sending a message, and not really talk about our areas of strength and profile as an introduction? I guess the answer to all those questions is no. 
Do you have any more such do's and don't's for LinkedIn? What are they?

By the way, after an internal struggle with my saner alter ego, we have decided not to post this on LinkedIn and fall under the first category of peoples outlined here, out there.

P. S. This post is the fourteenth in the A-Z blogging challenge series for April. 


Yogesh said...

'Sending a LinkedIn request to connect with no information about yourself' - how do you deal with such people?!!

Kavity said...

I ignore requests that I don't find legitimate or if not accompanied by a relevant message.