As a recruiter, I receive Linkedin invitations daily. I would say that 85% of them I do not know. In today's world it is all about networking. This being said, before you click "accept", there are a number of things to consider. Linkedin is the best social media networking site on the web today, but you have to use it the right way to get the best results. Linkedin can help find your dream job, grow your business, generate leads or simply connect others. Here are 7 things to consider before inviting others into your network.
1) If you don't know the person, it is okay to "decline". Send them an e-mail back and ask them why they want to connect. You will be astonished in the number of people who don't even respond. If they do respond, and you don't like their answer it is okay to "decline".
2) Treat an invitation like a resume, cover letter, or proposal. If the invitation does not have an explanation, why would you even take next steps? If someone wants to connect with you, wouldn't you think they would at least send a note as to why?
3) Be aware of the recruiters who simply want to tap into your network. Often times, people have absolutely no interest in you. They want to use your name to connect with someone in your network. Treat your Linkedin information as proprietary information. Do you really want everybody looking at your files that you worked so hard to create?
4) Networking is a two way street. If you connect, you should be willing to swap all information. Why else would you connect?
5) Who really cares about the number of connections you have? Recruiters aren't impressed with your connection numbers. We want to know who you know. Wouldn't it be embarrassing if a hiring manager said: "Oh you know John Doe? We worked together at Microsoft" and you had to say: "Well, not really". I do not believe in being an "open networker". Quality over quantity. Find the people that will help you or where you can help them.
6) Some people are recent adopters of Linkedin and send invitations to every recruiter/hiring manager at a company because they feel that will get them the inside track to a job. As a recruiter, I can tell you it does not. This is not someone you would want to include in your network. They need some career guidance, not your connection.
7) If you don't know them at first, but dialogue is exchanged and a rapport is built, they may be worth adding to your network. This is why Linkedin works.
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