Having been on LinkedIn for many years, like most of you, I have found numerous useful tools to connect and network for career development resources. It’s been a while since I’ve posted to this blog, but if you rummage through some of my older pieces, you’ll find how much of a value I place on tools, such as the still-active LinkedIn Groups.

Naturally, as time as progressed, so, too, has LinkedIn. While I haven’t openly lamented that some of the the new features over the years have make it seem like the business networking platform has taken a Facebook-like turn in some instances, it has never gotten to the extent that I want to delete my account like I did Facebook.

It must be acknowledged, of course, that LinkedIn has always had a sales component to it. It’s a networking tool, of course, so it should come as no surprise that has translated into yet another way to generate leads.

However, as a networking tool, I had always understood that to mean the relationships built on the platform are ones to be gradually developed over time…before diving into the sales pitch.

Like with any lead generation tool, however, there are those who think accepting a connection is a full-on invitation to get hit over the head with a sales pitch, not unlike the vampire who taps on your bedroom window wanting inside.

Welcome to the new cold-calling.

Even though I considered myself an open networker for years, I had come to realize that the number of connections didn’t exactly translate into potential job leads or new business. In many cases, connections were just people who wanted to put up big numbers they could tout on their profile headlines. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t aspire to do that once upon a time, but that time is long past.

Being mindful of connection invitations, I have essentially limited myself to accepting those from whom I have had some previous connection prior to LinkedIn, including previous co-workers, resume customers and the like. Occasionally, however, I’ve let my guard down.

And in came the vampires.

Usually I’m able to head them off. Their headlines generally give them away to what’s they’re all about. An even deader giveaway is when I get a connection request from someone who hasn’t viewed my profile.

I get the idea of pitching me, even though I’ll most likely say no. But at least have the common decency to read my profile and get an idea of who I am first!

This doesn’t appear to be a deterrent, though, and even though I’m pretty good at rejecting the connection requests, I do slip up once in a while.

There’s no good away to avoid being solicited. However, to minimize the sales pitches, here are a couple of tips:

  1. When receiving a connection request, check the requester’s profile. If the headline or summary point to the start of a sales pitch, you may want to avoid it.
  2. Check the degrees. If the connection request is a 2nd degree (i.e. a connection of one of your connections), it may be legitimate. However, always be mindful of their profile content.
  3. Check your profile views. If this is a request from someone who hasn’t viewed your profile, you may want to pass.
  4. If you reject a connection request, simply click on the Reject button. There’s no need to elaborate on why you’re rejecting their request, no matter how much it frustrates you.

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