On the surface, this may appear to be the most obvious “LinkedIn Cardinal Sin” to avoid. After all, this is NOT a dating site, so lust shouldn’t be part of it, right? However, there is more to the concept of lust than the sexual aspect. When we look at it from a different point-of-view, lust is the ultimate concept of using other people to get what we want. And using people is definitely a huge LinkedIn Cardinal Sin.
I WANT IT NOW
Just like Veruca Salt, the spoiled brat from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” someone consumed with lust wants what they want and they want it right now. I personally have seen this on LinkedIn when I accept a connection from someone, just to immediately be hit with a heavy-handed sales pitch. The person didn’t do anything to build a relationship with me, and I instantly feel duped or used as a result. Needless to say, those are the connections that I tend to “unfriend” almost immediately.
Another area that the instant gratification becomes a problem is with job seekers. Now I’m not suggesting that job seekers refrain from using LinkedIn to connect with managers and workers at their target companies. It’s the way the connections are made that needs to be addressed.
When reaching out to a possible future employer, be honest about your interest in the company as well as the target contact as a person. Ask about their backgrounds and how they managed to rise to a leadership position within the company. If all of your messages to a possible hiring manager only talk about how much you want the job, it’s not showing that you care about the other person at all.
THE OBVIOUS INTERPRETATION
No discussion about lust on LinkedIn would be complete without pointing out that for some people, lust is the literal interpretation. In this case, I’d like to warn you both about the phishing profiles and the poor choices that can lead to misinterpretation from other LinkedIn users.
- Phishing profiles
Typically speaking, if you see someone with a very beautiful or attractive profile picture, a low number of connections, and a job history that is either inconsistent or not complete, this could be a phishing profile. The scammers are hoping to connect with you to reach out to your own contacts or to even proposition you directly.
One of the more unique examples were phishing profiles that used the job title of “BDM.” In some circles, that means “Business Development Manager;” however, it can also mean “bondage, discipline, and masochism.” Yikes! And yes, I HAVE seen profiles that indicate the secondary meaning.
Fortunately, LinkedIn is proactive about identifying these types of abuses on the site. Of course, when you find one yourself, you can report it to LinkedIn as well.
- Profile misinterpretation
In some cases, just a poor choice on a profile can open a LinkedIn user to a misinterpretation of their intentions on the site. Most often, I this relates to the profile picture.
Some recent bad pictures I saw include:
- Showing too much skin – both male and female
- A low-cut prom dress – complete with roses
- Cheesy selfies
- Vacation pictures
- Workout pictures (but still applying for professional jobs)
- Duck lips
- Extreme close-ups
Picture choice is vital on LinkedIn. Not only do profiles with pictures gain 11x more views than those without, they do send a huge message about the person. If you aren’t sure that your picture is sending the right message, I highly suggest that you check out the website www.PhotoFeeler.com. You can get direct feedback as well as source great articles on how to improve your pictures.
GO AWAY, CREEPY PEOPLE
One other way that lust slides onto LinkedIn are direct predators. Every now and then, I will get an invitation from someone I don’t know. Once I accept, they will follow up with a message along the lines of “you had such a beautiful smile, I just had to reach out to you!”
Yep, that’s creepy.
The solution is simple: “unfriend” and block that user. If the person really crossed a line, you can also report him or her to LinkedIn directly.
LinkedIn offers several tools to make sure the site stays a safe environment for networking, professional development, career advancement, and research. When you run across something questionable, help the community and yourself by making LinkedIn aware.