I use LinkedIn for a lot of reasons.

It’s a great to keep an eye on when people switch companies, get promotions, etc. It’s useful when you’re trying to figure out if you know someone at a company or know people who know them. There are a lot of reasons I use LinkedIn and recommend others do the same.

I’ll admit that at the beginning I was fairly strict about which connections I accepted or not. I’m a bit looser now in how well I have to know someone or trust that they are actually good at what they do before I’ll hit the “Accept” button.

However, I often get LinkedIn requests that just boggle the mind because either:

a) the person was outright stupid in how they went about it
or
b) I can’t even believe they would think I would ever accept a friend request from them.

So I’m writing down some of those reasons here so everyone (especially students, job seekers, and recruiters) can hopefully get a little better at using this great service. (Your mileage may very since some people are LIONs.)

Here are some reasons why I can’t get to the “Ignore” button on your invite fast enough:

  1. You marked me as a ‘friend’ when I’ve never even heard of your name let alone even virtually know you. I get that doing the “Friend” option is a great way to get around some of LinkedIn’s restrictions on how you can connect with someone but this is NOT the way to go and a real friend wouldn’t do that. IGNORE!
  2. You said we worked together at <company> but we never did AND you don’t add in more than the generic message to say something like “We did that volunteer project together for <name of org> but I don’t have your current email and so I had to choose something” which will hopefully jog my memory and not dislike you for lying. IGNORE!
  3. You are not only a recruiter I’ve never met (and I have my issues with recruiters) but you’ve done #2 AND your message to explain why I should connect is that you have a job opening and want my help finding that person. Seriously? I don’t even know you and your first message is ‘hey I need you to do something for me’? IGNORE!
  4. You applied for a job or contract position with a company I’m working for/with and either a) stopped communicating halfway through despite our side showing interest or b) did something so egregious that they had grounds for immediate termination. If I couldn’t trust you then why would I trust you now, especially with just an “I’d like to add you to my professional network.” message, that you’re suddenly now a decent human being? IGNORE!
  5. You invited the wrong person (or were seriously careless). This is when you send me the invite and then you put someone else’s name/history with you in the message as to why you’re wanting to connect with me. This might be because you hit “Connect” thinking I was one person and I wasn’t but you didn’t do your homework. Or you’re just trying to do a mass connection spree and you’re copy/pasting your “tailored” message and forgot to change the name the person you’re sending it to. Either way: IGNORE!

UPDATE [08 August 2014] – Additional reasons I won’t add you to LinkedIn:

  1. You invited me to connect with you and then followed-up with a message in my inbox to try and sell your services. Sorry, but that shows me that my potential money is all you care about. IGNORE!
  2. You chose the “Since you are a person I trust…” generic message and I don’t know you/we’ve never worked on anything together. When you can clearly just choose the “I’d like to add you to my…” message why would you do this? Why would I want to “accept” an invite to someone who trusts people they don’t even know? IGNORE!
  3. You did add a personal message but it’s creepy. Adding a personalized message as to why we connect that has a creepy ‘I’ve been watching’ you feeling to it does not make me want to rush to let you connect with me and see more of my profile and status updates. IGNORE!
  4. You did add a personal message that remarked on my physical appearance. SERIOUSLY? No explanation needed as to why that is unacceptable. IGNORE!

These are just a few of the top reasons you’ll never see the email that says “See Sheri’s connections, experience, and more…” in your inbox.