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I left my previous job some time ago and started a new one. When leaving my bosses told me to keep in touch and I had reasons to think they meant it. At my previous job I had good reasons to want to leave and my bosses knew it - they told me so. It was a huge international company and I had very good performance reviews. When I handed in my notice they tried to keep me.

Now, some time later, I hate my new job and I am looking for a new position elsewhere.

I wanted to contact some former colleagues on Linkedin to ask whether they had any openings. I contacted those who stressed they wanted to keep in touch with a short friendly email.

I received no reply although they did read the emails.

As a result I applied for a position like every external applicant and has now been turned down (which is in itself shocking as my skills correspond extremely well to the positions there).

I guess I have the following question concerning Linkedin: Is it ever a strategically good, justifiable decision to "unfriend" people - to delete them from your personal network? I don't want to act childishly, but I see no point in keeping a relationship to a person who ignores me. Not to mention that I do share a lot of personal info on there and I don't want to share it with people I don't see as my "network".

And yes, it's very much a workplace question since I'm trying to understand linkedin's influence on the professional sphere.

  • Did you contact those just with a "hey, how are you ..." kind of message, or did you directly ask for a job? Also what is the cultural background here. (I think it is generally an interesting question btw, but may need a little rephrasing to not be closed as opinion-based) – Daniel May 17 '18 at 7:45
  • What does it mean when you "friend" someone in LinkedIn? I believe that by asking yourself that, you'll discover the answer to your own question. – Dan May 17 '18 at 14:03
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    What kind of personal info are you posting on LinkedIn? It is nominally a professional networking site. Personal stuff should go on Facebook. – Seth R May 17 '18 at 15:55
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Removing someone from the contact list is usually perceived as harsh.

I don't know the specific aspects of your company, but where I work I can refer a potential hire, but then I have no voice on the choices done by HR. At best I can hand the resume directly to the hiring manager if I have a good relationship with him/her, but again I have no voice over the decision to move on or let go.

On the other hand, most of LinkedIn contacts I experience are "hey, I am looking for a new job, do you have anything at hand?". Now, considering that I am not a professional recruiter, if this comes from a contact with whom I had some casual talks in the past (congrats for the new position/work anniversary, how are you doing...) I may be inclined to dedicate few minutes to it, but if this person was a ghost since being on my contact list and then just pops up asking for a job, well, chances are I will simply skip it.

All in all, your former colleagues do not owe anything to you, or simply opted for inactivity as best option. Removing them from your contacts will look harsh for sure and burn bridges.

Just lower your expectation on them, and whenever the time come for a switch of the roles decide how you want to act.

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Different people use LinkedIn differently.

Some people use LinkedIn actively for networking purposes. They will share opportunities with their network and will be open to receiving messages inquiring after opportunities.

Other people use it more passively, which will usually mean that they might not expect to get an inquiry for a job opportunity.

There is also the frequency to consider, some people are actively checking their messages and feeds every day while others almost never use the site unless they need some information.

In short, while it's a good first step for communication without immediate obligation, if you're actually expecting a response there are other avenues you should take. For instance, if you have their private phone number, you could try giving them a call.

Whichever method of communication you choose, be mindful of the fact that just dropping your inquiry for a job opening on them out of the blue without any exchange of pleasantries beforehand will often not be taken well. You'll be seen as someone who doesn't really care about them, you just want to use them for your own selfish purpose of finding a new job.

In essence, this is true: you are contacting them to inquire after job openings. Still, you can avoid this problem by letting the conversation flow naturally. When you contact or message them, start by asking how they're doing, how work is. Usually, they will reciprocate, which gives you an opportunity to say something like:

I'm currently [out of a job/unhappy in my current job and looking for a new one]. That's actually part of the reason why I'm contacting you. Do you happen to know if there are any job openings you think I would be suitable for?

No matter how you go about it, it's important to remember: - You are asking for a favor . - The other person is not obligated to do anything for you. - This includes responding to your messages/emails/calls. - You'll get better results if you keep the connection strong by also contacting people from your network when you don't need anything from them

  • You write OP shouldn't force anything or inquire about openings but actually they write they wrote the person a "short friendly email", which probably means just that. – BigMadAndy May 17 '18 at 16:52
  • I don't see how that invalidates the answer. I'm saying 'don't be too forceful, remember that you're asking for a favor' and 'be aware that not everyone will appreciate being contacted through linkedin'. How that deserves downvotes is beyond me. – Cronax May 18 '18 at 7:30

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