I’ve had numerous speaking engagements since 2006 where I’ve touched on how job seekers, employees, entrepreneurs and students can leverage LinkedIn for career and business success. In these presentations, I always mention that you should accept all of your LinkedIn contact requests even if you don’t know the person. There’s always a lot of criticism around this piece of advice because people are still very private, aren’t trusting and don’t understand the power of having a larger network on LinkedIn. My stand on this issue has been the same since 2006.
Here are five reasons why you should accept everyone:
- Referrals. The best way to get a new job is through a referral, anyone will tell you that. By increasing your first degree contacts, you have more people who can introduce you to hiring managers that you didn’t have access to.
- Research. I view LinkedIn as a professional research directory. It’s the white pages for professionals. If you don’t have a large network on LinkedIn, then you are limited in the number of profiles you can view when searching.
- Awareness. Who knows how that person found you in the first place. When you put yourself out there, sometimes people find you interesting so they connect with you. If you’re ultra paranoid, then why not just email them and find out how they found you?
- Influence. The number of contacts on LinkedIn has an impact on your Klout.com score. Klout is becoming more important to employers who are looking to identify talent that has social media influence. If you have a low Klout score, it can hurt your chances of getting a job in some industries like marketing, PR, media and communications.
- Branding. The size of your network on LinkedIn if visible up to five hundred contacts. If you don’t have many contacts, then you will appear to be less valuable because your network is your net worth. If a recruiter is choosing between hiring two people based on LinkedIn profiles, the person with 500 contact will beat out the person with only 20 every time.
Of course there are exceptions, aren’t there always! If your top competitor or someone you dislike adds you, you shouldn’t accept them.
Add me on LinkedIn and see for yourself: http://linkedin.com/in/danschawbel
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