Three Recurring Annoyances that LinkedIn Could Easily Fix by @gutmach

Apr 27, 2015
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

pulling hairThis post was originally shared on LinkedIn.

Note:  This post represents my personal views and not necessarily those of my employer.

With all the extra programming talent that LinkedIn’s successful IPO helped to fund hiring for, you’d think these would be easy fixes, but they continue. However, complaining without offering a solution is not my style, so I include one for each — and even better news for LinkedIn, they leverage solutions already deployed elsewhere on LinkedIn!

If you agree, please join the chorus and encourage LinkedIn to remedy these:

1. Can’t search messages the way you search the rest of LinkedIn: One of LI’s best features is how you can search its millions of members by job title, company, location, etc. However, this doesn’t apply to the messages you’ve sent or received (, and if you’ve been on LinkedIn a while, then you have likely many such messages.  However, all you get to handle those folders is one little search box that brings up all results containing the keywords you type — so if you wanted to find all messages you sent to someone who works or worked at Microsoft, in your results you’ll also have to wade through every message that mentioned Microsoft in terms of products, stocks and many other irrelevant contexts.

Suggested solution:  LinkedIn, why not just port over the search fields you’re famous for into the inbox messages, sent, archived and trash?  You obviously know who sent and received each message, so applying the other fields to the search would be straightforward. And while you’re at it, since you already label each message result found as being from (inbox) Messages, Archive, and Sent, why not make that a left-column filter, analogous to the many left-column filters you have in your regular profile search?

2. Can’t search or sort your received invitations AT ALL. I purposely didn’t mention received invitations to connect in that previous item, because that’s currently handled in a much worse way: You can’t search received invitations at all.  Even if you click Invitations in the left-hand column, that search box ignores those entirely.  And if you receive many invitations to connect (for me, it’s in the thousands per year, thanks in large part to an increasing number of falsified profiles — a major annoyance deserving its own future post), you’d really benefit from having LinkedIn’s standard free advanced search to help prioritize these.

Suggested solution:  If LinkedIn fixed #1, they could fix #2 at the same time:  just include invitations as one of the places that the inbox search would cover.

3. The overly-casual automated salutation: Maybe it’s standard practice at LinkedIn to call everyone by their first name, whether you know them well or not, but it’s not that way everywhere else — particularly when dealing with dignitaries or those more senior than you. This annoyance was first brought to my attention by job candidates, and I can see it damaging recruiters and others, too:

You’re someone who realizes that if you simply click the blue Connect button to the right of someone’s name in LinkedIn profile search results, it sends a generic invitation-to-connect with no opportunity to customize the ubiquitous template.  So to show respect (and improve your response rate), you instead visit the person’s profile, THEN click the Connect button, and now have an opportunity to modify the connection invitation up to the allowed character length limit.

However, what you won’t realize unless you view your message afterwards in your LinkedIn Sent messages folder, is that LinkedIn added the person’s first name followed by a comma and 2 line spaces before your carefully-crafted message.  So, for example, your message to that university professor now starts:


Dear Professor Jones,

Unnecessarily embarrassing, eh?LinkedIn probably intended to help lazy LinkedIn members by personalizing the message somewhat who might otherwise forget to include a salutation. While that makes sense for the click-from-search-results Connect option, if someone is going to take the time to craft a message, then LinkedIn should not automatically add anything that detracts from that message.

Suggested solution: Why not reuse functionality that’s been included for years in LinkedIn’s Recruiter product for these one-by-one messages also, which provides ultimate flexibility? Just above the Connect invitation message body, include a Salutation select menu field that has choices like Hi First Name, No Salutation, Dear First Name, Greetings First Name Last Name, etc., exactly as appears when sending inmail messages using LinkedIn Recruiter.  LinkedIn can even keep “Hi First Name” as the default just as exists in Recruiter — so many connection invitation messages would go out just as they do now — but at least then people who cared could select “No Salutation” instead if they wanted to begin the message in some other way!

If you’ve experienced other annoyances on LinkedIn that don’t seem to go away, let us know in the comments, let the LI support team know ( and/or use the LinkedIn feedback form (

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This article is part of a series called Opinion.
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