There are plenty of signs that point toward improvements in the economy, but it’s still a tough job market. Recent graduates are facing challenges in the first phases of their careers, and the mountains of student loan debt many of them face are only adding to the stress. To overcome those challenges, more job seekers are turning to social media for help. However, 26-year-old Diana Mekota received a rude awakening when she tried to connect with Kelly Blazek, the founder of an online job bank for marketing professionals in Cleveland.
Mekota is a graduate of John Carroll University, and she’s planning to move to Cleveland for the summer. In an effort to build connections and get a foot in the door of the local marketing community, she sent an introductory message and connection request to Blazek. The message was simple enough, listing some of her career accomplishments, her interests and her educational background.
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Blazek, however, did not appreciate the note. Rather than ignoring it or just denying the request, she actually took the time to write a blistering response.
“Your invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you and tacky,” Blazek wrote. “Wow, I cannot wait to let every 26 year old jobseeker mine my top-tier marketing connections to help them land a job.”
Blazek didn’t just aim to tear Mekota down. Her response indicates that she has an issue with every Millennial looking for work.
“I love the sense of entitlement in your generation,” Blazek continued. “And therefore I enjoy denying your invite.”
The closing of Blazek’s email put the icing on an already angry cake.
“Don’t ever write me again.”
You can read Blazek’s complete reply here. After you do, this bit of news will surely shock you: Kelly Blazek received the 2013 Communicator Of The Year award from the Cleveland Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators.
Menkota initially replied to the “Communicator of the Year” with a thoughtful apology. However, Blazek’s award-winning communication skills did not inspire her to continue the message chain. With no reply, Menkota proved the power of social media. She posted Blazek’s reply to Reddit and Facebook where users have continually bashed Blazek for the past week. The story has been picked up by Buzzfeed, CNN, NBC and a host of other major media outlets. Blazek has attempted to delete her online presence by deleting all the content from her blog and removing her LinkedIn page.
Connecting In 2014.
While Menkota may have violated an unofficial rule of sending a message and request to someone she doesn’t know, Blazek’s scathing reply reinforced a timeless adage: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. We’re all bombarded with emails and social media messages, and this scenario raises some key points for both sides.
The Hunters: Online networking is about leveraging who you already know, not simply amassing a large number of connections. You should strive to make your social community include valuable colleagues and friends who would proudly trumpet your qualifications to their connections.
The Hunted: Remember when you were a job seeker? You worked so hard to expand your network, meet the right people and uncover new opportunities. Wasn’t it so helpful when people would actually respond, offer advice and lend a hand in your search? The reality is that job seekers need to be inventive to capture attention from potential employers, and yes, that inventiveness might include writing people they have never met. Blazek seems to operate with an old-school closed-door mentality rather than a willingness to expand her address book.
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Looking for more thoughts on appropriate etiquette on LinkedIn? Check out this helpful post.