Deciding If That Person Asking You To Connect On LinkedIn Is Real

Is Anna a real person? 

Today, we will look in depth at the profile of Anna Li, someone who invited me to connect in late October. As you can probably guess, this is not going to end well. My goal here is to show you what I look at and look for when I see someone’s LinkedIn profile.

Let’s have a look at her profile and look for clues as to whether Anna is a real person, or a fake profile. 

First, what can we see at a glance from the headline section of her profile? 

Actually, just about everything here makes me question Anna immediately.

18 connections? You don’t have more colleagues, ex-colleagues and classmates / alumni than that? 

“Manager” is a pretty weak title

And Anna has no location. 

Okay, let’s have a look at her “About” section.

Anna says she is a senior market development manager. At best – and giving Anna the benefit of the doubt for being a non-native English speaker, I find it highly unusual that L’Oreal would not approve a senior marketing person buying cosmetics for research purposes. Isn’t that kind of what she is supposed to do? 

Her second “About” paragraph is a delight. Anna conducts market research via “rummaging” through social media messages. This has to be the first time I have seen anyone use the word “rummage” on LinkedIn. Apparently these social media messages unveil for Anna the needs that customers have that the customers are not aware they have. At this point, Anna is beginning to scare me. Even if she is real I don’t want to send her messages over LinkedIn as she might use them as part of some Vulcan mind meld thing. 

Okay what about work experience. I won’t show all three of her work experience sections for L’Oreal, but here is the first one: 

Marketing Department Research Manager

L’Oréal · Permanent

Apr 2017 – Present · 5 yrs 7 mos


  • Formulate an annual marketing goal plan, establish and improve marketing information collection, processing, communication and confidentiality systems, investigate consumer buying psychology and behavior, and collect, sort and analyze the performance, price, and promotional methods of competing brand products , Analyze the advertising strategies and competitive methods of competing brands, make sales forecasts, propose future market analysis, development directions and plans, and formulate product planning strategies;

Two points here: Hands up everybody who thinks this looks like this was badly cut and pasted in from somewhere else. It sure doesn’t sound like the same Anna who wrote that About section. Plus, this paragraph consists of two very long sentences, one of which ends in a comma and the other ends in a semi-colon. 

The second point is that while this Experience section outlines Anna’s responsibilities, it says nothing about her accomplishments at all. It’s odd that she has a work experience section that doesn’t talk about the actual experience at all. 

And now, let’s review her schooling. Anna says she has a Masters degree from the University of Toronto

A master’s degree, Industrial and commercial management

Jul 2010 – Jul 2014

Grade: Excellent academic performance

  • Activities and societies: Good performance in school, active participation in health sports, volleyball, golf, swimming.
    • My name is Yaman and I am studying for a master’s degree at the University of Victoria. I went to Victoria University through the relationship between my parents and my uncle to go to Victoria University to go through the formalities for studying abroad. During my studies at Victoria University, I felt that my day-to-day study life was quite equal. a lot. Victoria University is very beautiful and huge. Studying and living in school broadened my horizons and made many friends. When people ask me about my experience studying at Victoria University, I will say that living abroad has really grown me up. , become a more perfect me.

This whole section is just a little weird. Academic performance “outstanding” ? And who is Yaman? And why is Yaman talking in the present tense about events of ten years ago? And the hideous English is jarring. Wouldn’t you think that four years in Toronto would result in better English skills? 

Verdict: 99% probability that this is a fake LinkedIn profile. And I do not connect with people who are most likely not people. 

In closing, let me point out that there isn’t any single detail that tells me Anna is a fake. There is even an outside chance that she isn’t fake, that she is just someone whose attention to detail would make me very afraid of L’Oreal’s market research department. But taken in its entirety, all these little things add up, and her story just doesn’t sound right. And that is what you should take away from today’s newsletter:  sometimes there isn’t an obvious tell, but the profile just doesn’t seem right somehow. That’s your gut instinct, and you should probably follow it.