LinkedIn: Pushing the Boundaries of Professional Networking

A Name Like Shields Can Make You Defensive


I’m sure women all around can relate to what I’m about to touch on. The boundaries of professionalism are certainly pushed on Linkedin.

LinkedIn is supposed to be a professional site for networking and connecting with alike minded-people. Rather, for women, it can sometimes be daunting and frustrating to have a profile on the site. Every day, I wonder what kind of insane message I’ll receive. My inbox is littered with comments that are not appropriate for the type of site LinkedIn is. Honestly, I have resorted to being more reserved in my presence and delete the sketchy messages almost immediately after I’ve received them.

I pride myself on keeping my personal life off of LinkedIn. I do share my blog posts occasionally on my LinkedIn profile since I am a blogger and freelance writer. I do this to promote that aspect of my business. I don’t having an exceptional profile picture. My picture is conservative and is from the shoulders up. Somehow that doesn’t deter the “LinkedIn creeps” from stumbling across my page proceeding to send me comments deserving of being a dating website message. I’m considered mediocre or average by society (at best), which to be quite honest, I’m ok with. I don’t like the added attention or stress associated with being anything but average.

I feel that a professional picture is best for this type of social network platform. Clearly pictures of your family and d*ck pictures aren’t ideal, but I’d certainly take the family picture over the d*ck pictures any day of the week.  Even something industry specific to what you do is fine. With my recruiting background, I’ll be the first to admit that I tend to judge (to an extent) if someone’s profile picture is anything less than appropriate. I’ve seen pictures of people drinking or partying as their main image photo. Honestly, what kind of message does that put off to those looking at your profile? Probably not a very good one! Shockingly though, some people don’t seem to care the impression they leave with others.

Even though my picture is conservative and lacks luster, I do, however; still have a presence on LinkedIn that draws men to my page for reasons other than business networking. Let’s be honest folks, getting all those endorsements and connections is not always about my job accomplishments or achievements.

Here is one such message I’ve received recently which is borderline inappropriate:

“Thank you for linking up with me. I am so very impressed with all that you have accomplished this far. You are an inspiration to all attractive business women who also are intelligent and capable. You are the total package..”

This individual meant well, maybe, but again it’s his word choice that makes it questionable. What do my looks have anything to do with my capability or intelligence?

I’ve never looked at LinkedIn as anything but a professional website to help build my network and connect with individuals from various industries.

Sometimes I feel like men (and woman also) join almost as though it’s another resource for finding compatible partners.  I have received tons of creepy messages over the years, most of which I have deleted or ignored by now, and I can say that I’ve grown increasingly ‘turned off’ from the site more and more over the years.

I’m happily married with an almost 2 year old. My profile lets my connections know that I’m married, but as we are all fully aware, people ignore and frankly just don’t care about that fact.

I’ve had men ask me my relationship status. Others have asked if I was open to exploring “new opportunities”-non job-related. Others have simple sent me messages expressing their admiration towards my beauty or smile. I’ve received some rather vulgar messages that I immediately delete. I assure you that not all the messages are inappropriate, but they’re certainly not the kind of messages I intended on receiving when I joined LinkedIn back in college.

After all, LinkedIn is a professional networking website, right?

If I were single, I’d say I could probably have gone on a few dates with some of the men I’ve connected with over the years. Many are readily available and have let me know that openly and without filters their words.

I know many other women who have received similar creepy messages. I’m sure there are a fair share of men who receive messages from women too, but for sake of this rant, I have  focused on the female perspective.

I’m no exception to this kind of LinkedIn treatment. Let me assure you also that this doesn’t just happen on LinkedIn, it happens on other social platforms as well. There is no way to filter out those people or regulate the type of messages that are sent either, so we’ve learned, collectively, that it’s the new norm.

This kind of behavior will grow increasingly ‘normal’ on every social media platform if it isn’t already-which it probably is, unfortunately.

Ladies, gents, do you feel my pain?


Picture Sources: Danielle Jones & A Name Like Shields Can Make You Defensive

Leave a Reply