LinkedIn Overload: Quality vs. Quantity

full mailboxI’ve done some reading about effective LinkedIn profiles.  Ok, maybe that’s an understatement – I’ve done a lot of studying about effective LinkedIn profiles and usage.  One thing I read a while back was to make sure you have at least 500 connections, because if you have under 500 connections everyone can see the size of your network, but if you have over 500 connections LinkedIn just states your network size as “500+”.   After reading that I sent out more invitations to connections that I met through conferences, associations, education, etc.  Then I started to get invitations from people I didn’t know.  Not just 1 or 2 here and there, I mean – I started to get 10+ invitations a day from people I didn’t know.  Somehow my email address was put on an open networking list (LION) and the invitations just coming.  Within a short period I had reached the 500+ mark, but it wasn’t what I hoped it would be.  My news feed and inbox were flooded with information that held no value to me.  I started to ignore invitations and pretty soon I had over 50 invitations in my inbox that I didn’t know what to do with. I had to ask myself, “Should I have sacrificed quality for quantity?”

Here’s my recommendation to those who are struggling with the same question.  If you’re all about the numbers, then go ahead and connect with whomever sends you an invite, but hear this warning: LinkedIn may lose its effectiveness if you do so, and it will be more work for you to sift through the valuable invitations from the worthless ones.  You may be better off to send and accept LinkedIn invitations for people that meet a certain criteria (e.g., they work in your field, live in your area, are in a field that you’re interested in, etc.).  If you are going to send invitations to people you don’t know, but share a common connection (e.g., are in the same professional group, went to the same college, etc.), then be sure to customize your LinkedIn invitation to them stating how you know them and why you want to connect.  This will increase your likeliness of getting an accepted invitation.  It may take a bit longer to grow your network, but you’ll be certain your network is a valuable one.

This article was written by Miranda Vande Kuyt a self-employed career development practitioner and communications consultant.

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