“Hi Mitch! I would love to connect with you on LinkedIn!” –Someone I’ve never heard of, but we might have mutual connections…
Ok, I connect. Why? You can never know too many people professionally. From someone who has often been out of a job or between contracts, it is often important to expand your network. I have gotten several contracts that way.
A couple of days later:
“Hope you are doing Well! Well, I am a training consultant for IT & Management certifications. Are you looking for any certification like PMP, PRINCE2, RMP, P3O, PBA, TOGAF, GRE, GMAT, AWS, AZURE, GCP, CISM, CEH, CISA, CCNA, CCNP, comTIA any other?”
If it happened once, it is enterprising. No. Over the past two years I have gotten no fewer than one hundred and fifty of these almost identical solicitations. They are not quite but almost word for word. Let’s put aside for the moment that one of these is misspelled (CompTIA), and that AZURE is not an acronym and thus should be written Azure, it is annoying to be sold to constantly on LinkedIn.
The following statement is not meant to be racist nor sexist… but most of these solicitations have been from extremely attractive women in India. I do not know if they do this because the pretty faces are more likely to sell to middle-aged fat guys in IT, or if the sub-continent just happens to have an overabundance of extremely attractive female training consultants. What I do know is that I have never received a cold-call from a legitimate consultant before. I also know that looking at these profiles, most of them do not align to the opening statement. “I am a Training Consultant for IT & Management certifications.” No, you are a project consultant for a company that is in the electrical and electronics manufacturing sector.
I do not know if these accounts are all spambots, or if they are real people with a side hustle (a secret side-hustle, otherwise it would be listed on their profile), or what the scam is; I do know that if I want training in any of the certifications that she spouts off, then I would seek out a reputable source (as a technical trainer with more than fifteen years of experience, I know quite a few of those). If I wanted a training consultant for any of those certifications, then I would reach out to people who actually have those certifications. I have written articles, given talks and sessions, and yes I have even consulted on certifications; I have always done so credibly because I hold the certifications on which I am speaking, writing, and consulting. The minute someone asks me about certifications I do not have, I suggest they speak with someone who knows about those certifications.
I do not know if these solicitations are truly scams, or if they are somehow legitimate. I know there are a lot of legitimate businesses that I would not do business with, and you might not be jaded as I am. You might also not get the same number of solicitations so as to recognize it as spam. With 3400+ connections on LinkedIn I suppose I am more susceptible to them. I do know that if I was thinking about getting certified in CCNA, I would not be sitting around waiting for a random attractive woman from the other side of the globe to hit me up about it, I am going to call a colleague at New Horizons, Global Knowledge, or Phoenix Training to inquire about them. (These are three training companies that I have delivered training for, and not an endorsement per se of one of these over other reputable training centres). If I was just starting out and did not know anyone, then I would call a local training centre and ask for an explanation. In fact, that is exactly what I did in 2001.
I do not like being sold to. I certainly do not like it happening on LinkedIn, a platform that I (and millions of others) use to advance my professional career. Every time I get one of these solicitations on LinkedIn, I do the following:
2) At the top of the conversation (next to the name) I click the ellipsis (…) and then click Report.
3) In the Let us know why you’re reporting this conversation window I click It’s spam or a scam. After all, I said clearly that I do not know if it is a scam, but I do know it is spam.
4) In the To help keep abuse off LinkedIn… window, I select It’s promotional or spam. It absolutely is that!
5) After all that, on the Thank you for reporting this window I click Block (contact name). This removes her as a contact and blocks her from seeing me.
The problem with promotional spam is that every time we find a way to block it, they find another way through. We will never be ahead of them… but we can keep bailing the water out of the boat so that we can stay afloat.