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Career and job search help for creative professionals.

Blue Sky Resumes is a small team of professional writers and job search experts. We offer one-of-a-kind resumes, smart career advice and fantastic customer service. This is our blog.


Dispelling a LinkedIn Myth


Do you only connect with people you know on LinkedIn?

If so, you’re making yourself far less visible than you need to be and you’ll get fewer interviews as a result. I know, I know – the LinkedIn people say you shouldn’t connect to people you don’t know. Plus tons of social media “experts” all agree that connecting with strangers is bad form. But here’s why they’re wrong:

1) LinkedIn’s search capability is based on the individual user’s network. So when a recruiter searches for a ‘marketing manager’ she will first see all her 1st degree connections, then all her 2nd degree, then her 3rd degree etc. etc. This is replicated for every individual who searches on the site. As a result, the more connections you have, the more often you will appear in search results. This is good news if you’re looking for a job. But also if you’re using LinkedIn for other networking purposes.

2) Networking is about making connections with people you don’t already know. That’s the point! Would you go to a networking breakfast and then turn away when a stranger approached you?

“But,” some of you are asking, “What if I connect to someone I don’t know and then he/she asks for an introduction to someone I do know? I don’t want to recommend someone I can’t vouch for.”

I agree. Again, compare it to in-person networking. You’d be happy to talk to the stranger who approaches you at the networking breakfast, and to exchange business cards, but you wouldn’t recommend him for a job or a contract until you know a lot more about him. The same applies on LinkedIn. There’s nothing wrong with politely explaining that, while you’re happy to connect on LinkedIn, you can’t recommend people that you don’t know.

Only you can decide how you want to use the system, no matter how many experts tell you their perspective, but to make an educated decision, you need to know that more connections = greater visibility and greater opportunity. I think it’s nuts not to make the most of that. What do you think?

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About the Author

Louise Fletcher

Louise co-founded Blue Sky in 2002 after a career as an HR executive. Her industry experience includes music, video games, fashion and advertising. She lived and worked in the US for many years, but moved back to her native UK in 2012, where she now lives in the Yorkshire countryside. In addition to her full-time role with Blue Sky, she's a professional artist, so you can imagine why she couldn't answer the 'what do you do with your free time' question! Contact Louise by email.

3 comments on “Dispelling a LinkedIn Myth”

  1. Joanna Lord says:

    Another great blog Louise! “Networking is about making connections with people you don’t already know. That’s the point! Would you go to a networking breakfast and then turn away when a stranger approached you?” —> so true!

    So many times people criticize LinkedIn for the “spam” messages they get from strangers, but I think a well executed intro & good intent can lead to some great networking. LinkedIn has enabled all of us to explore a universal Rolodex of contacts, and given us the tools to say hello to interesting new people.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to highlight the positive capabilities of LinkedIn as a “new-business relationship builder.” 🙂

  2. I like the main message “networking is about meeting people you don’t know”, but wonder how strong a connect you have if you simply ‘harvest names’ on linkedin.

    Is it better to have 500 contacts whose only interaction you have had is to accept their invitation or fewer people that you somehow ‘engage with’ but are more relevant?

    I am not sure where the balance is.

  3. Ilja Preuß says:

    So, how do you decide whether to connect with somebody? What value would linkedin have if everyone was connected to everyone else?

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