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Connect Like a Pro on LinkedIn

How do you treat LinkedIn connection requests? Do you accept them all? Do you apply certain criteria when considering requests? Do you only connect with people you know outside of LinkedIn?

Managing your LinkedIn network is a personal thing. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. You do want to connect strategically.

First, define your goal.

Why are you on LinkedIn? Knowing the reason will make it easier to go about making the right connections.

Determining what you need to accomplish on LinkedIn is step one in determining what type of networker you will be on LinkedIn. Avoid setting a numerical goal. The size of a network is not as important as having the right network.

Second, a connection should be real.

There are fake accounts everywhere. You don’t want to crowd your LinkedIn community with them.

Take a look at the profile and give it the legit sniff test. Is there detail in the profile or just a name and little more. Is there a believable profile picture? Does the work experience make sense?

Do you share mutual connections?

Third, a connection should have value.

Value comes in many forms. Is this someone you know that you want to maintain contact with? Does the person work somewhere where you want to work or do business? Are they part of a community that is valuable to you professionally?

Determine the characteristics of a valuable connection. Connect with people who will matter to you.

Finally, be valuable.

Consider your networking strategy and think about who, how and why you are connecting. How can you add something worthwhile (value) to others before you ask for something?

Be sure to give as much to your network as you get.

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