Social media and professional relationships both have rules of etiquette that must be observed and are easy to break. LinkedIN – despite being an amazing social network and the best friend of the modern recruiter – multiplies the potential for committing a faux pas. So, who should you connect with on LinkedIN?
Friends and Family
Unlike Facebook, there’s no guarantee your Mom is on LinkedIN but some of your friends probably are. Either way, these are safe, easy connections to make. They want the best for you, won’t hold the odd update against you and act as excellent bridges into networks you might otherwise be locked out of.
Bosses and Coworkers
LinkedIN is based on connecting with the people in your professional network, so this is a no-brainer. However, it’s also one of the biggest pitfalls of LinkedIN. After all, updating your profile is the same as sprucing up your resume and connecting with a recruiter implies you’re entertaining job offers. Remember, it doesn’t need to be the truth for it to start gossip around the watercooler.
This is where opinions differ on the etiquette of LinkedIN. Some people see carpet-bombing connections as a valid alternative to cold-calling. Others like to cultivate their network and chafe at unsolicited connection requests. Either way, it’s important to ask yourself whether you’re in a position to add value or just didn’t feel like shelling out for an InMail.
My advice is to only connect with clients once you’ve delivered some value. Trying to connect the second you’ve made your pitch seems presumptuous and is a pretty transparent sales move. If your goal is to reach 500+ connections you can definitely do it this way, but if you’re interested in building a solid network it should be based on mutually beneficial relationships.
We live and breathe LinkedIN and 500+ connections is the industry standard. We’re easy to find, typically aren’t too picky about who we accept and routinely add value to anyone who’s even casually looking for a job. Connecting is an easy way to put yourself on our radar, just remember that accepting your connection doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve got the perfect position for you.
Never forget that LinkedIN is a social network and a business tool rolled into one and the rules of both apply. You can also make yourself more appealing to a recruiter – or anyone else searching LinkedIN – by making a few simple changes.