My career in technology

LinkedIn has started to push interactivity to its users beyond just checking in weekly on the new connections that your connections have added.

LinkedIn is now encouraging you to say “Congratulations” within 24 hours of when your connections make a change to their current job or job title.  But congratulations are not always in order.

Sometimes, your connection has just gotten around to updating their profile – they have had the job for two years and are prepping their profile to make the jump to a less miserable environment.  (Hmmm, maybe that is a reason for congratulations, anyway!)

Other times, their change in status is prompted by a job loss, and their new role as “Consultant” is what they are doing to scrape by until they find their next “real job”.

LinkedIn also encourages you to congratulate your connections on their work anniversaries.  One of my connections hasn’t updated his profile in a while, so his “work anniversary” was for an employer he hadn’t been at for years.

I think there is great value in interacting with your network over job changes, and to a lesser extent over work anniversaries.  Every contact, however small, reinforces the connections you have made, making your network just a little stronger, a little more valuable (to yourself and the rest of your network, too!).  It shows you are paying attention, and gives an indication that you care.  For those of my connections who have put their birthday on their profiles, I have taken the step of sending them a short note saying “Happy birthday”,  wishing them well on a day that means more to them than a work anniversary.

However, in order for these kinds of interactions to provide value, in order to prevent yourself from looking stupid, rubbing salt in a fresh wound, or otherwise committing a social faux pas, you have to PAY ATTENTION.  You need to be aware of where the people in your network are, and check to see whether the change is something to congratulate them on, or to ask them how you can help.

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Comments on: "Inappropriate Congratulations – The New LinkedIn Feature" (4)

  1. jamescgross said:

    Are you aware of any way to prevent Linkedin from automatically emailing contacts about anniversaries? I’d prefer that they not spam people on my behalf for a meaningless event.

    • jamescgross said:

      Ok, I just found out how. If the job ‘time period’ month is set to ‘choose…’ then Linkedin won’t be able to do this.

      • I was about to suggest that, though I was unsure it would work (LinkedIn might assume that no month meant January, and notify of your “anniversary” then).

        If you don’t want your network to be notified of your birthday, just don’t include your birthday in your profile.

        If you don’t want your network to be notified of job changes, you can “Turn on/off your activity broadcasts” in your profile (I believe there is also a setting on your profile page when you are updating your profile that does the same thing).

        However, if your network members don’t want to receive the “spam” LinkedIn wants to send, they can go into their settings and go to Communications >> Set the frequency of emails >> Updates and News >> Network Updates and choose “No Email”.

        There is a downside to not including the month in your work history – this is considered a “red flag” by recruiters (it is assumed that you may be trying to hide something, a gap in your work history). Granted that this is less relevant if you have been employed at the same place for more than a few years, but it is a risk nonetheless. Of course, the work anniversaries are only for your current employment, so making sure you have months for the rest of your history will not impact the “spam” you generate.

        In any case, unless you have more than one job, the notifications only go out once a year, and usually in the company of others who have a similar anniversary, so the amount of “spam” you generate is pretty minimal and wouldn’t worry about it.

      • jamescgross said:

        Interesting. Thanks for the detailed response. I’m a self-employed designer and entrepreneur so I’ve got a few jobs listed on my profile. I was concerned that people would be seeing ‘anniversaries’ from all of my jobs and wanted to prevent that from happening for obvious reasons.

        Linkedin has some serious issues. I rarely use it, and things like this make me seriously consider closing my profile.

        Thanks again 🙂

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