Talk About An Unprofessional LinkedIn Response

I'm An UnprofessionalLinkedIn is an incredibly powerful networking tool for professionals to connect with their colleagues, find new job opportunities and get to better know their industry.  Think of it as Facebook for professionals.  Sadly, not everyone who’s got a LinkedIn account remembers the “professional” part of that title.

I ran across this in my Facebook feed last night when it was shared by a professional for which I have the utmost respect.  As I dug in and began reading the story I quickly became absolutely appalled.

The Back Story

As best as I can gather, there’s a 20-something gal who’s looking to move to the Cleveland area.  She (unsolicited) sent a LinkedIn request to a lady who apparently is held in some high regard in the Cleveland area.  In addition to being a seasoned professional, she runs a Job Bank email group with over 7,300 subscribers (which sounds like a PERFECT resource for someone looking to get to the Cleveland area).

Now I haven’t seen the original email, but the 20-something posted the response.  Wow… just wow.

Unprofessional LinkedIn Response

The original is here: http://m.imgur.com/gallery/71sQ92K

20-something included this response with her image:

“Moving to a new area so I attempted to join her job board and followed it up with a LinkedIn invite. This was the email response I received. Guess us twenty somethings should bow down to senior professionals because clearly we have nothing to offer. Just like to point out that her LinkedIn page reads: “Frequent speaker on creating a gamechanger resume, professional presence, and how LinkedIn is a critical element of any job search.” So the job search continues…”

The Backlash

All I can say is “WOW”.

On a professional level this is completely deplorable.  On a Cleveland level it’s embarrassing that this sort of thing is associated in any way my home town.  I’d briefly considered adding this gal’s name and links to her blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. just so that every time someone Googled her name this “incident” came up.  I’ve decided against that partially because she’s deactivated her Twitter, LinkedIn profile, WordPress blog, etc. and honestly I don’t want to open myself up to some bitch with too much time on her hands looking for retribution (But I won’t stop you fine folks from leaving comments ;) )

  • I didn’t see the initial request from the 20-something so I don’t know how tacky it may have been.
  • I don’t know this “professional” so I can’t speak from any sort personal experience, but based on the comments on various outlets this seems right in line for this person.

Check out this SECOND email that someone posted – see a pattern?

Done With This Conversation

The original is here: http://m.imgur.com/ioK17Ms

The bottom line is this… these sort of unsolicited requests come on a regular basis.  Even if I’m having a bad day, even if I don’t know the person, even if we’ve got nothing in common, there are better ways to respond.

In the words of the immortal Ace Hunter: “Life is on the wheel… it all comes around.”

The more I dig into this, the more pissed I get.  So before I get myself into trouble by offering more than “facts” I’ll be done.  And just like that, “Done with this conversation, and you.

Updates

The Response

It seems that after nearly 12 hours of being publicly eviscerated via social media, Kelly Blazek finally decided to make an apology rather than hiding her head in the virtual sand.  Janet Cho from the Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com posted her apology here: Job bank head Kelly Blazek apologizes after her rejection emails go viral

Is the apology legit?  Is she just doing this to try to rebuild her image?  Is the response just too little too late?  You be the judge.

Final Thoughts

Yesterday was a bad day for Kelly Blazek.  I’m sure she would love a do-over.  She got blasted, will most likely lose clients and possibly her job.  Her Job Bank email list certainly got a lot of notoriety and this situation is another stark reminder that social media can affect things… big time.

While it’s not the position that I personally subscribe to, I don’t think the message that Blazek was sending was necessarily a bad one: “I don’t connect with people I don’t know on LinkedIn and I don’t just let anyone in to my Job Bank email.”  Unfortunately for her, that’s not quite the way she worded it.  If she had, her response never would have seen the light of day and her name wouldn’t be worth as much as Art Modell or LeBron James in Cleveland PR circles.

Whether or not her response SHOULD have been shared via social media is another matter all together.  The bottom line is this… every time you share, email, tweet, check in, etc., that action is being captured.  Whether it’s by Google, an analytics program, a pissed off job seeker, etc.  Kelly Blazek will go down as a big time reminder of that power of social media and that you really should think through a response before hitting “send”.

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13 Comments

  1. Great post! I’m sad to see a professional act quite the opposite of professional but hopefully she can learn how to treat people from this situation. You’re the bigger person by not posting her name in the post and I’m holding back on doing so now.

  2. Hi there. I am the one who actually received the first email. Firstly, I was never doing it to make people feel bad for me, but rather show how unprofessional this person could be. I too, refrained from directly calling her by name, but people quickly found out.
    I can tell you that I never ever sent her an email to deserve this. I firstly applied to be on her job board (200 words or less about yourself and career aspirations, without the use of a resume) after sending out that brief synopsis on myself, I felt it would be wise to add her on LinkedIn. I felt maybe she could view my profile to gain any information I missed in the brief job board appeal. All I did was add her on LinkedIn and received this email.
    I can tell you and would like to share my email response, which I felt was very nice and apologized if she misconstrued the situation. I never heard back. I will gladly share with you if you are interested.

    But just to be clear, the only action I did to warrant this email was send her a LinkedIn invitation, after applying to her job board.

  3. Initial email to join job board: http://imgur.com/bBonE3M

    Email response after her email:http://imgur.com/oBaAGMN

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  9. The author admitted he only refrained because she reduced the satisfaction of internet backlash by shutting all her pages down.

  10. And just moments ago, it was announced that Kelly Blazek “mutually agreed that she will return the IABC 2013 Communicator of the Year award”. http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2014/03/04/clevelands-kelly-blazek-iabc-award/

  11. LinkedIn is just such an unprofessional place. I closed my account there

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