Should I Connect With Everyone on LinkedIn or Just People I Know? |

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter answers the question of whether you should only connect with people you know on LinkedIn or with everyone.

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So, this question’s is about LinkedIn and the question translates into, “Should I connect with strangers or just with my friends on LinkedIn?”

There are two schools of thought, one that was initially propagated by LinkedIn which says only connect with people you know and the other one that says with everyone . . . And their are places between those two extremes.  I tend to operate between the two extremes.  Let me give you the case for only connecting with people you know.

The original idea of LinkedIn was to create an environment where social proof was created for people in small networks. So, in that model, if a friend of yours, a professional colleague of yours was looking for a position, you would write a recommendation four that person that would appear on their LinkedIn page (and you should be doing that, by the way, and not just “they’re a really good guy,” or “I really like her a lot”) a really good quality professional recommendation for someone. Again, I digress.

The original model was networks of people who know one another who can support one another in finding work, introductions and the like. Now, understand, I am member 7564 so I remember those days. In other words, I was among the first 10,000 people ever signed up on LinkedIn. And I conducted myself in thatNetworking online way for a long time. I’ll simply say that the LinkedIn algorithms favor those with larger networks and they are able to sell product to people like me who want to find individuals with small networks. After all, and this point, I have 23,00 1st level connections. In the LinkedIn universe, that’s some mega  number. However, if you’re outside my network or that mega number, I can’t find you.

So, LinkedIn sells products like LinkedIn Recruiter to me (when I still did recruiting) to be able to find someone like you. As a job hunter, as a career professional, you want to be able to be easily found so that opportunities present themselves to you there.

You may not want to get “inundated.” I respect that and whether you’re a larger network or in a small one, LinkedIn is selling the Recruiter product to people who find you anywhere. So, your goal is to always make it easy for people to find you because, professionally, think about it for second.

The person who gets ahead isn’t always the smartest or work the hardest . . . Although those are great qualities to have. People get ahead by being alert to opportunity. Sometimes, those are internal to your firm. More often than not, they’re external to it.

So, given that you those opportunities, statistically our more probably to be outside of your firm, you want to be found. That doesn’t mean you have to respond to every opportunity or every offer (although it’s courteous to respond back, saying, “thanks, but this isn’t my time to consider other opportunities. Keep me in mind for future things”). No problem whatsoever. But, again, you want to be found and, in doing so, you need to be more networks.

Now, let me go to the other extreme, which is was called a LION– LinkedIn Open Networker. I don’t participate in that and the reason is, in my former line of work, I don’t want to help someone who might be a competitor, who will fill a position at a client of mine because they found someone in my network, because they’ve got a small network period but by getting connected with me, get access to my huge network period if I make a mistake it, I don’t want to help someone make $20,000 or $30,000 at my expense at a client of mine.

So I don’t accept connections with other recruiters and I don’t connect with profiles that look like spam profiles (they have two connections. They are in Nigeria on and on and on or they have that aquamarine blue background behind them as they photographed you can’t quite tell if that’s a real image or it’s something that is a drawing. So, I don’t accept connect with profiles like those. You can pick your own criteria.  You may say I want to connect with recruiters. That you’re prerogative. I don’t think it’s smart on your part but, hey, it’s your life and your choices.

At the end of the day, I think you more advantaged by getting into a large network. So, whether you are a student or an experienced individual, build up your connections. Look for Open Networker groups and connect with people. If you are in the US, connect with lots of US people. That doesn’t mean you have to connect with every real estate agent, financial planner or whomever, but look for people in your line of work who might be part of these open networks and that’s can build up your contacts so that, as you aggressively start looking for things, there are going to be up opportunities that people can find you easily for.

Don’t forget to put your phone number and email address in the summary area of your LinkedIn profile so that way if a recruiter wants to reach out to you, they are able to do it by direct email and not have to spend money on inMails. inMails in are expensive for recruiters, both corporate and third-party, and LinkedIn does limit the number of inMails that they can send.

So, again, put your contact information in the summary area of your LinkedIn profile.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. He is hired to provide No BS Career Advice globally. That can involve job search, hiring staff, management, leadership, career transition and advice about resolving workplace issues. Schedule a discovery call at my website,

He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2500 episodes.

I do a livestream on LinkedIn, and YouTube (on the account) Tuesdays and Fridays at 1 PM Eastern. You can send your questions about job search, hiring better, management, leadership or to get advice about a workplace issue to me via messaging on LinkedIn or in chat during the approximately 30-minute show.




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