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I received a notification through LinkedIn from an employer I’m pretty sure may be a mistake. It was basically a canned message that was from the HR person stating they wanted me to look at this job. Well it’s a job that requires an engineering degree or something similar. I have a MS but that’s in computer science. Could it have been a mistake by LinkedIn that I was qualified and the message was sent to me by mistake?

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    We would be guessing. Why not follow up and see what they want?
    – DarkCygnus
    Sep 1, 2023 at 22:26
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    Linkdin just seems to produce spam, I blocked it in my email
    – Kilisi
    Sep 3, 2023 at 10:26
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    I gave up on LinkedIn when they started asking friends to review me in terms of skills I had never claimed to have. It may be unavoidable, but I think the answer to "how does it work" is "not very well at all."
    – keshlam
    Sep 3, 2023 at 17:49

3 Answers 3

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LinkedIn works much like Facebook or Twitter. People can see other people's names and profiles, and might take guesses or chances based on partial information. Some companies just post "we are hiring" and wait to see what happens, others reach out and contact people who look interesting. If (and I'm not saying it is) it's a mistake to contact you about this job, it's not a "mistake by LinkedIn" it's a mistake by a human who is looking through profiles and trying stuff.

If the job doesn't appeal to you (location, duties, money, whatever) you don't need to do anything. But you know, if it looks appealing, why not try applying? Sure, you may immediately get a response that you don't qualify, but ok, shrug that off, that's on them, they suggested you apply. Of course it could happen that they're more than happy to hear from you. A masters is generally better than a bachelors, as long as the fields are at least close. There's no harm in giving it a try.

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I'd like to specifically answer the question how LinkedIn works in the situation you have described:

Presumably, you have a profile on LinkedIn that contains some information about your professional background.

Other LinkedIn users can look at that profile and see your information. In particular, users with paid access to LinkedIn probably (I don't, but it's what business social networks like LinkedIn or Xing typically advertise with) have enhanced tools at their disposal to search for profiles matching certain criteria. This is what professional recruiters use to find candidates for a given opening they are tasked to fill.

Now, you write:

[The message] was basically a canned message that was from the HR person stating they wanted me to look at this job.

This is very typical. I get multiple of these every week. With each recruiter probably sending out dozens, if not hundreds of such messages each week, it is safe to say most of them work with canned messages or compose their messages from prepared blocks.

As it happens, some recruiters are more diligent while others are sloppier in what they do (and of course, everyone may have a bad day from time to time). While most of the messages I receive fit my profile, I did receive some that got e.g. my location totally wrong (in the sense of "I see you live in <city>, which is great, because my client is looking for experts in <state>", where <state> was a different state than where <city> is located in), or that were only vaguely related to my background.

It's usually not LinkedIn making the decision to message you, but a recruiter. No worries about it; you can safely ignore it if you are not interested, or of course you can feel free to follow up on it if you are.

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Its not necessarily the employer. LinkedIn itself forwards these job offers to your box. I receive half a dozen every night, based on what in my profile.

If you are interested in it then apply.

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