Someone Plagiarized My LinkedIn Profile!
It doesn't happen often but it happens with enough regularity that I decided it was time to blog about it. Blog about what? LinkedIn Profile PLAGIARISM!
As I said, this is not a common occurrence but it has happened in the past and because humans are humans, it will continue to happen. A person may be looking to optimize their LinkedIn profile and rather than putting in the work (or $$) themselves, they find an awesome profile that speaks to them and they copy and paste it into their profile. I truly believe the plagiarizer doesn't realize what they are doing is wrong. In fact, when I have confronted people in the past about LinkedIn profile plagiarism, they have said, "But Donna, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!" Most people know it's wrong to copy passages from a book into a college essay yet somehow, taking a LinkedIn profile is fine in their book.
Plagiarism of LinkedIn profiles is wrong!
One of the reasons I think people don't see the issue with copying a LinkedIn profile is because so many LinkedIn profiles are copied and pasted from resumes. If it's okay to copy and paste your resume into your LinkedIn profile, why not copy and paste another LinkedIn profile into your LinkedIn profile? Right? WRONG!
I've said this before and I simply don't get tired of saying it:
Your LinkedIn profile is NOT your resume. Your resume is your career history. It's dull, boring and often task-based. Your LinkedIn profile is your CAREER FUTURE! It's who you are, how you help people, and why you deserve to be noticed. A POWERFUL LinkedIn Profile sells YOU! Don't copy and paste your resume! Use this opportunity to take control of your Internet identity and truly present yourself in a way that inspires, impresses, and builds confidence in your abilities, products, and services.
Each LinkedIn profile should be unique and copying & pasting from a resume OR from another person's LinkedIn profile is wrong.
3 Ways to STOP LinkedIn Profile Plagiarism
1. CALL THE PERSON ON THE PHONE
What? Call them up and confront them directly? Yes. Believe me, it's far too easy to ignore emails. By picking up the phone and talking to the other person, you are showing you mean business. You also are increasing the odds that they will remove the plagiarized parts of their profile.
2. FLAG THEIR PROFILE
If you absolutely can't figure out how to obtain the person's contact information OR the person wasn't interested in being polite, it's time to report their profile to LinkedIn.
From their Public Profile, click the Connect Button and choose Flag as Inappropriate. A pop up box will appear. Choose Misrepresentation from the droplist. In the Details box, write something like this:
This profile is a direct copy and paste of my profile. Here is my original profile: http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/toDonna
3. CONTACT LINKEDIN'S TECHNICAL SUPPORT
You tried contacting the person and you flagged their profile as problematic. Now it's time to contact LinkedIn directly. Visit LinkedIn's Help site by clicking here. Once at LinkedIn's Help site, click the Contact Us link on the top Navigation bar. You may have to perform a search before LinkedIn allows you to click the Contact us link.
Provide LinkedIn with the name of the member, the URL link or screenshot of the profile and a description of exactly what has been plagiarized.
Eventually, LinkedIn will research the issue and act upon their findings.
When people have reached out to me for help on dealing with a plagiarized LinkedIn profile, they all share a feeling of being violated and victimized. It's terrible when you work long and hard to create a unique profile only to find that someone took your words and made them their own. Even though our natural tendency is to strike out, I caution you against it. Make sure the situation warrants the removal of the text... remember my first example in this blog post! Sometimes it's best to accept it as flattery and move on. If it is a situation where the person is out and out stealing and they should remove the offending text, work with them nicely. Call them on the phone and demonstrate your professionalism. Take the high road... even if you want to throw the person off the high road to the ocean below and watch them splash around.
Has your profile ever been plagiarized? How have you handled it? Do you have any best practices to share? Please post in the comments below. Just scroll down!