File This Under: LinkedIn No-No’s

Are you on LinkedIn?  Then you probably know it is a professional social media tool, one that many, many people use to network in digital form. 

LinkedIn is not Facebook.  Just like looking for a job is not hanging out with your buddies.

I can not make this stuff up.  I’m sharing this little exchange from LinkedIn so that you will know- and you will share with your kids, your proteges, and your colleagues- the rules in this brave new world.  Yes, manners, grammar, and common courtesies do still exist, even in the internet age!  I received this message, which is the standard default message:

HIM: Darla,  I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

Just a word here.  If you are asking for anything, especially from someone you barely or don’t even know, you can come up with better than the system default, right?

ME: Glad to connect! If there’s anyone in my network I can help you connect with, please let me know.

By the way, this is not a default message.  Most people accept invitations without ever responding back.  Feel free to steal this message and be a real person online.

HIM: ok…who are you????
Um, really?  This reminds me of the line in the Tom Hanks movie, Angels and Demons, “Guys, you called me!?!”

ME:  You requested to connect with me here within the last month. Did you attend an organizing seminar perhaps? Ah, the joys of social media.

HIM: no…are you from Philadelphia?


HIM:  I’m applying for jobs on linked in and just about everyone I’ve ever heard of (and more) has gotten a request from me…..I dunno….like you said…….leave u alone now

End the misery, please.

Remember, LinkedIn is a professional platform, and I have probably never met this guy.  We may or may not have a colleague in common.  But here’s what you need to know.

1. This is my first impression of this guy.  And it’s not good.

2. He probably knows how to put a sentence together, but I can’t prove it from this.  Companies generally prefer to hire someone with good communication skills.  This isn’t it. A mistake or two can be forgiven (how many can you find in this article?)  Casual and blatant disregard for the language is not appropriate when job posting.

3. He’s stated that he’s casting a wide net for a job, but he didn’t tell me what kind of job. 

4.  For all he knows, I am married to the very hiring manager he is trying to get to.  My husband and I are linked in on other ways, but not here.

5. For some reason I can’t include the graphic here, but his last response had a football-shaped emoticon in it. Remember, this is a professional platform.  Save the emoticons for email and facebook and people you know well.

This is not like a wrong number telephone call.  This is an interaction with names and faces attached.  A much better response would have been, “Nice to meet you, too, but I’m not sure who we know in common, to be honest.  I’m posting for jobs in the XYZ field, and would love to know if you can help make any connections.  The same goes for me, of course.  Let me know if I can help you make any great connections in my network.  Have a great day!” 

I hope you got a chuckle and a tip or two out of this. 


Pregnant Entrepreneur Interview: Belly Button Boutique

Please welcome Karla Trotman, owner of BellyButtonBoutique, which she started during the most uncomfortable nine months of her life. She offers some button-sized gems in this interview.


KarlaTrotman Pregnant Entrepreneur

What was your life like when it hit you that you were or were about to become a  pregnant entrepreneur?

I started my business at the end of my pregnancy, when you are feeling like the baby is going to fall out of you and that the pregnancy will never end.  So  it kept my mind off of those physical issues, but because my company is  about making pregnancy more comfortable, it provided me with great inspiration.


What was the one thing you wish you had known before you got pregnant? 

That it wasn’t going to feel good.  You don’t realize that the baby is going to be squished up against your innards like  that.  Its quite crowded.


Was there a really challenging part of your story, where you considered  closing or changing your business?  How did it turn out for you?

I’m blessed in the fact that I am a 3rd generation entrepreneur.  My father’s company is still thriving.  I remember my mom telling my father in the beginning, “we are going to      push through the 3 to 5 year mark, where most businesses fail.  If it doesn’t work out, then fine.  But we are going to stay the distance”.   There were times in the very beginning where there was NO money coming in, I had stocks of product and felt that I had done everything that I could to  make it work.  Additionally, I had two small children and was a bit frazzled.  It was then that I realized that I had to put my big girl panties on and push through.  Whenever you think that you have hit a wall, that is when you realize that you need outside help and/or advice.  So I became humble and asked my father for advice.


What was your maternity leave period like?  

During my leave, I launched my online store.  That was exciting.  You see, when you are working towards something that is your dream, its not work. I juggled it well because I had a supportive family.  Plus, I was up nursing and taking care of a baby at all hours of the night, so it all worked out.


If  you had the chance to trade your situation for the “corporate paycheck, kids in daycare” option, would you?  And why or why not? 

My kids always went to daycare and I still collect a check, per se.  Because my store is online, I am able to do marketing and special projects for my father’s corporation.  I really miss the interaction with my peers because my current situation is very isolating.  But this is what I was born to do.  And when mommy is happy, everyone is happy.


Do you have a funny story about being a pregnant entrepreneur? 

Unfortunately, I do not have any funny stories about being a pregnant entrepreneur.  My husband did think I was nuts signing papers  in the hospital and fielding calls from my attorney.  And there were all of those nights nursing my son while typing with one hand on my computer…


What  advice would you give to the independent young women who follow you?      

Don’t be afraid to strike out on your own.  Lots of people thought that my idea was dumb.  But based on my research and a spiritual directive telling me to move forward, I knew that it would work.  So I proved everyone wrong.  All roads to success aren’t paved.  Sometimes you have to get off of the beaten path and create your own trail through the woods in order to reach the goal.  And try to start you business before getting pregnant and having a family.  Sooooo much easier 🙂


Karla Trotman, Owner