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Don't Get Linked Out on LinkedIn

September 20, 2010  
LinkedIn is "one heck of a community for getting to know your prospects and customers," writes Ardath Albee at Marketing Interactions. "[But it] can also expose a lack of integrity and authenticity in a heartbeat." So if you're using LinkedIn as a lead-generation tool—or for any other purpose—consider this cautionary tale.

Not long ago, a colleague emailed Albee to refer a jobseeker he had met via LinkedIn. "She thanked him for the referral to me," notes Albee. "I know this because my colleague forwarded me the email trail of their discussion along with his note."

An hour later, Albee received and accepted the jobseeker's invitation to connect at LinkedIn, fully prepared to help in her search for employment. Albee's attitude changed, however, when the jobseeker sent a generic thank-you note outlining her professional background and offering wishes for a mutually beneficial professional relationship.

"No salutation," says Albee. "Nothing personalized. Word-for-word the same exact message as if the exchange between her and my colleague never happened." Albee was understandably irked by an impersonal form letter when the situation clearly called for a personal note.

She promptly severed the jobseeker's LinkedIn connection and resolved not to help her in any way. Albee also included this note for her readers: "If you get this message, just click delete. I have a feeling it's being sent to more people than the two of us."

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