Like any other social media site, a prominent factor of LinkedIn is your interactions with other users. Unlike other sites, however, you only want to include people you truly know as connections. Because LinkedIn is primarily a career networking site, your connections do make a difference. For example, if a recruiter that knows you sees you are connected to a potential candidate of theirs, they might reach out to you and ask you about them.
So, don’t go around inviting random people to connect. But do connect with everyone you do know. Coworkers, professors, classmates, family, friends, etc. You never know who might have the connection you need to land your dream job! LinkedIn is set up in a way that it promotes interactions, job opportunities and more on your newsfeed based on who you are linked to. Your classmate’s cousin could be the lead recruiter at a company you’d really like to work for, and LinkedIn gives you the ability to see the connection between the two that you might have been unaware of otherwise. Now you can talk to your classmate and ask them to introduce you!
Connecting with managers or more senior coworkers is an important factor to LinkedIn, as they have the most ability to help you move further in your career. One thing to keep in mind: a major pet peeve of many senior executives, professors, and recruiters if receiving the standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” when someone requests to connect with them. Not bothering to edit the message makes it seem like you’re not really interested in connecting with them. Instead, personalize the message. Similar to a thank you note you’d write after a job interview, specifically mention how you know them, making sure that you stand out among the dozens of other requests they’re getting weekly.
One cool thing about LinkedIn connections is that you can map them using LinkedIn Labs. This tool shows you your different groups of connections so you can see where you might be lacking connections. Try it out – it’s pretty cool!
There’s no time like the present to get connected – so log on and invite as many people you can think of to connect. The more connections you have, the bigger your network is and the more opportunities you’ll have available!