I was thumbing through my mobile LinkedIn newsfeed the other day and noticed something that caused me to both laugh and wince at the same time (and grab a screenshot of course).
In the example below, Michael changed his LinkedIn profile to reflect his job loss but received a slew of congratulations through his network. Talk about adding insult to injury.
Let’s learn from this embarrassing mistake. First, it’s important to understand what precisely triggers the change job status notification. According to LinkedIn, whenever someone adds a new current job position, LinkedIn will trigger a “say congrats” update to their network. Thus, when someone changes their title or position that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a new job - it just means they changed their position in some way.
Second, before knee-jerking to congratulate them, your job is to review their LinkedIn profile and actually process the information. Think through:
Is this a promotion? If so, definitely congratulate them! If it’s someone you know and are actively trying to build a relationship with, offer to take them to lunch to celebrate.
Is this a demotion? If they went from a title like “director” to “manager,” you may want to hold off on congratulating them.
Is this an industry change? If so, congratulate them and think about who you know in that industry that might be good for them to connect with?
Is this a new job? If so, congratulate them, take them to lunch and talk about any rollover opportunities. Also, find out who they are working with at their new job.
Are they unemployed? If so, don’t congratulate them! Think about anything you can do to help them from a networking perspective? Who can you introduce them to? Also, there might be a rollover opportunity.
The advisors we work with who are excellent with LinkedIn are very thoughtful with how they use it. Make sure you don’t let the technology replace your thinking.