Our teachers, advisors, peers, bosses, etc. they all tell us to make a LinkedIn account so we can be connected to opportunities, people who have our dream jobs, friends of friends who could put in a good word for us for that internship we have been dreaming of for months now. In theory it’s all good. I encourage everyone who wishes to build a professional network to make a profile on this site. However, when your account is made, you soon start to realize some people are on that website for the wrong reasons.
Take me for example, I am a twenty-one-year-old college student who has a dream of becoming a fashion buyer. I work very hard and have a lot of ambition. I take on a lot of roles in order to gain relevant experience to make my dream of becoming a buyer come true. I post about a new position I accepted such as a Sales Associate or Marketing Intern. Soon lots of messages flood in saying “Congratulations!” It’s awesome & makes me feel good to read so many great well wishes. Suddenly, some of these well wishes become a little bit more than a simple “Congrats on the new job.” Instead of congratulating me on an achievement that I have worked so hard to accomplish, I am complimented on my appearance. I am asked if I am single (& no, I am not single, I am blessed to have a boyfriend who is my number one supporter in everything that I do). I was even sent a terrifying email that was almost a page long about how beautiful I was and asking if I was interested in pursing a relationship with a man who was multiple decades older than me.
I just don’t get it! When did a website that is supposed to be made for achieving career goals, learning, and researching become a dating website? Instead of fully focusing on finding an internship this summer I am constantly wondering, “Will I be hit on if I post this?” This should not be a worry for someone who is trying to work hard and achieve their dreams.
It is one thing to be polite on LinkedIn. In fact, I highly encourage it. Tell someone “Congrats” on their new job or tell them that you admire how much they accomplished. The world needs more kindness.
However, there is a very fine line between being polite and being straight up creepy. The page-long email I received about how beautiful I am is creepy. Whereas the messages I received saying, “Congratulations on your new position,” were very polite and kind.
If you are on LinkedIn and you receive a ‘creepy’ message DO NOT be afraid to stand up for yourself. Tell the person, in a professional way of course (being rude is almost always never the right answer) that you are on this site to make a better life for yourself and not to date. Be sure to report the message because people like that need to be stopped and exposed.
Be safe, be aware, be professional and always be kind.