If you’re searching for ways to bulk up your professional network or land a new job, LinkedIn is your friend. You won’t hear much argument on this point from professional staffing experts or job search counselors. This simple, free, globally recognized online tool can help you leverage the power of your current contacts and add more supporters to your list with a few clicks of a mouse. And at the very least, it can’t hurt your prospects. But be careful; some easy shortcuts are a little too easy, and some simple solutions can actually create more headaches than they solve. Here are a few ways to gain the benefits of LinkedIn while avoiding potential trouble.
Don’t accept every invitation.
When you receive a connection request from someone you don’t immediately recognize, ask around before you accept. The more you allow yourself to be spammed or targeted by indiscriminate marketing campaigns, the more fake offers will come your way. Check each contact for shared connections or unbiased endorsements before you allow a new person to enter your world and steal your precious time and attention.
Don’t send invitations without thinking first.
LinkedIn has a few tools that make it difficult to reach out to people you don’t actually know. But make sure you take these warnings and access barriers to heart. Reaching out to someone you don’t know can annoy them rather than cultivate their friendship and support, and if you have access to a more genuine pathway to the person—like a phone number or email address—use these other channels to approach him or her directly and ask for what you need. This will bring a faster response and a little more respect.
Take an inventory of your connections periodically.
A few times per year, go through your list of contacts on LinkedIn and remove names you don’t recognize, no longer need, or don’t care to hold on to. We can all use a little less clutter in our lives, and culling your list will help you stay in closer touch and get more out of the connections you actually value.
For more on how to keep your personal list of contacts under control – both online and off – reach out to the networking and job search experts at Cordia.