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Herzing University

Career Development Coach Denise Alexander

The Essential Checklist for Connecting on LinkedIn

Considering LinkedIn’s impressive potential for networking to grow your career, it’s important to ask yourself who you should be connecting with on the site.

As of 2023, LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network with more than 900 million members in more than 200 countries worldwide. LinkedIn’s members include executives from every Fortune 500 company. The primary mission of LinkedIn is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.

Considering LinkedIn’s impressive potential for networking to grow your career, it’s important to ask yourself who you should be connecting with on the site. After you’ve built your stellar LinkedIn profile, it’s time to start exploring answers to some common questions about how to network on LinkedIn.

Do I Know You? 

Before accepting or sending a request to connect on LinkedIn, ask yourself, “Do you know this individual in real life?” Have you previously worked with this individual, done business with them, or even met them at a conference? If yes to any of these questions, they are likely safe contacts. 

By using this method, you can build a targeted group of connections with whom you know more than just what is presented on their LinkedIn page. The downside of this method is you fail to grow your network or nurture new, unfamiliar connections. 

Do I Want to Know You? 

Connecting with other professionals outside of your already existing network is one of the key benefits of LinkedIn. More precisely, it’s recommended to build your network to over 500 people with people who roughly have a similar background to yours (i.e., in a similar occupation, in a similar industry, or the same occupation but in a different industry).  

By curating your network to other like-minded contacts, you can accomplish several important objectives:

  • The content you share or create will resonate with more people in your network. 
  • You and your connections can provide each other with leads that result in adding more valuable people to your network.

Lastly, with your LinkedIn profile, you want to make it a point to connect with recruiters as they can be an excellent pipeline to employers for job opportunities. When considering which recruiters to connect with, consider the recruiter’s reputation, review their LinkedIn profile, and get recommendations from others within your network.  

When Not to Connect

Now that we have focused on who you should connect with, it’s equally as important to consider some people you might not want to connect with on LinkedIn.  

  • Blank Profiles: Do not accept a connection if the person has not completed their profile as you may be dealing with a malicious social media bot. Even in the best case, you are still dealing with someone who does not appear very serious about networking on LinkedIn.
  • Salespeople: Be wary if someone only wants to connect to sell you something since this connection won’t add any value for you. Usually, these messages often feel copy-pasted or like a sales pitch. Finally, you can likely get more genuine advice or guidance from a connection by networking.
  • Solicitors or Requests for Personal Information. As with any online platform, social media sites are subject to scams and fake accounts. Even if the profile appears to be a person you have met in real life, if you start receiving soliciting messages or requests for personal information that are out of place, this could be a sign that someone is attempting to scam you.
  • Empty Message: It’s best to reject a connection if a message is left blank as it often means the person sent it quickly. What is the point in connecting with someone who has not even considered the value of the relationship to either you or them?
  • Bad Networkers: There is no need to connect with people who are not good at networking as they add no value as a connection. If someone’s profile has no photo or is incomplete, how likely are they to even use LinkedIn let alone be a valuable resource in helping you? 

Making connections can be challenging, but it isn’t impossible. If you’re a Herzing University student, don’t forget to utilize the university’s helpful Student Services page to help strengthen your LinkedIn profile.

With these helpful tips, you can begin to build an effective network on LinkedIn. Happy connecting!

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* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics 2023 / Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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