One of the most popular pieces of employment advice that recruiting professionals seem to be giving job seekers is to reach out to professionals and potential employers via Internet channels so that they can make valuable industry connections. That being said, if you’ve seen a recent story of a LinkedIn networking initiative gone awry that’s been making the media rounds, you’re probably hesitant about making similar moves. Despite the controversial rejection messages that numerous professionals received from Kelly Blazek, a Cleveland-based entrepreneur, this isolated incident should not be a deterrent for your online networking efforts. Instead, you need to up the ante and ensure that your modern resume gets into the hands of as many people as possible, and network the right way.
Blazek blasts professionals
Kelly Blazek, an Ohio businesswoman who manages a JobBank newsletter that goes out to about 7,300 professionals throughout the northeastern portion of the state, has been making headlines, as news sources across the board have been presenting various seething messages she sent people who tried to connect with her on the Internet. So far, three professionals have come out of the woodwork, sharing the curt and even offensive rejection emails they received from this 2013 International Association of Business Communications communicator of the year.
In general, being rejected isn’t fun, so how bad could Blazek’s responses really be? Take a look at a small sample:
“[H]ow about starting with NOT presuming I would share my nearly 1,000 personally-known LinkedIn contacts with a TOTAL stranger? How bush league to pull that stunt,” wrote Blazek in one letter. “It’s what kids do – ask senior executives to link in to them, so they can mine contacts for job leads. That’s tacky, not to mention entitled – what in the world do I derive from accepting a stranger’s connection request? You earned a “I Don’t Know ______” from me today, for such an assumptive move.”
She has a point, people
While there’s no doubt that tone and delivery of Blazek’s denial to connect with other professionals was extreme – even she admitted it, issuing a public apology – there are some lessons to be learned here.
Blazek raised a good point in one her messages. “I’ll answer my question for you, Wendie: you never mentioned you were in fundraising,” Blazek responded to Wendie Forman, a professional with 30 years of experience and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University. “Rule #1 of job seeking: do a better job communicating what you do and what you’re looking for. Nonprofit work includes social work, accounting, case management, client intake…..it’s not an assumption that because you say nonprofit, anyone interprets that as fundraising and development.”
You can’t deny that the women has logical reasoning behind this rage, and you should take what she said to heart as you try to forge bonds with creative employment agency representatives and other professionals throughout you’re field that you don’t know. You have to realize that these people have worked hard to build their own network and have a reputation to uphold. If you, a complete stranger, reach out to them, they do reserve the right to protect themselves and deny your request because they really can’t vouch for you.
So what does this mean for you? For starters, you may want to stick to linking up with people you already know in some capacity. This way, they won’t have to stare blankly at their screens and ask “who the heck are you?”
If you do decide to branch out a little, be sure to lay it all out on the line. Present them with your modern resume and give them a full run-down about your experience. In turn, they won’t view you as just another moocher with nothing to offer and without any concrete credentials to which they can attest. Abide by these guidelines and you can expect an absence of expletives in responses received.