Declining requests to connect because you “don’t know” other users? It’s time to reconsider… especially if you have a very small LinkedIn network (less than 500 connections).
LinkedIn isn’t a tell-all social media site (like Facebook, where you’re often judged by the quality of the company you keep).
Instead, think of the site as a massive networking meeting, where the more people you reach, the more exposure you’ll receive as a leader and executive job seeker.
Online networking and digital identity can make a BIG difference in your executive job search.
You DON’T want to be a well-kept secret!
Here are 5 reasons to quit rejecting connection requests on LinkedIn, particularly if you’re in the market for a new leadership opportunity:
1 – You could miss out on valuable industry intelligence.
LinkedIn now contains 722 million user accounts. If you’re routinely turning down requests to connect, you’re missing out on a valuable resource for industry knowledge, current-event updates in your field, and peer contacts.
Many of your colleagues are using social media to present themselves and their talents to recruiters, as well as to position themselves as thought leaders.
One of the best benefits of LinkedIn is competitive industry intelligence! By connecting to other users, you’ll be able to view status updates and and posts showing promotions and industry topics.
NOTE: Ensure new connections are authentic by clicking on the user’s photo, then right-click and select “Search Google for this image.” If the picture has been used in multiple LinkedIn Profiles with varying names, report the Profile to LinkedIn as fake. In addition, if it seems you are being “pitched” by a user trying to sell you services, you may also be best off ignoring the request.
In most other cases, you WILL benefit from accepting a request. Remember, LinkedIn keeps growing… adding millions of members each month and further expanding your opportunity to stay in touch with the right person for the right job. By ignoring new connections, you could be missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime.
2 – You run the risk of looking antiquated.
If you haven’t searched for a job in the past 5 to 10 years, you’re in for a surprise.
Social media has overtaken many phases of the job hunt, from your digital identity to how employers learn about your qualifications.
Many employers are recruiters are expecting to find you online, and they’re receptive to hearing from you on LinkedIn.
It’s also simple math: Being well-connected on LinkedIn puts you far closer to a potential recruiting contact, with a search algorithm that decides who and what to show you based on your degree of closeness.
Plus, if it looks like you’re not a reasonably active user of social media (with at least 500 to 1,000 connections), hiring authorities might wonder how “current” your skills are and whether you’re staying on top of your field.
3 – You might lose the opportunity for a recruiter’s call.
Many prospective connections exist just on the other side of a recruiter.
That recruiter could be the one who’ll make a difference in landing your next job.
LinkedIn is basically a database that allows you to continually edge closer to important resources in your industry, but only if you give it a push by forming new conections.
Employers and recruiters use paid LinkedIn subscriptions to find and approach talented executive candidates. By becoming more connected to influencers and leaders in your field, your Profile will more readily appear in front of them.
4 – You won’t be able to gauge your qualifications against competing candidates.
Admit it: one of the reasons you may be intrigued by social media is the opportunity to see what everyone else is doing. But if you refuse to participate, you might miss the chance to see how your credentials stack up against the competition.
Many social media users tend to overshare information – so use it! Gather valuable competitive intelligence from your new connections. Especially if you’re striking out in your job search, you’ll benefit from taking a look at peer candidate Profiles.
You can also analyze common career paths, education, job progression, and skills in your industry, helping gauge how you rank against other job seekers.
Perhaps you’re aiming too high in your job search, or you should be pursuing a different type of executive role. This information can be used to refine your search tactics, career goal, job search activity, and even your Profile information.
5 – Prospective connections could be employed in your target companies.
Even if you’re not familiar with a new connection, you could soon be in need of their assistance – especially if they’re in a hiring role.
By graciously accepting a request to connect and even sending a quick thank-you note to your new contact, you could be cultivating a high-value resource of use either now, or at a later point in your career.
Watch your News Feed on LinkedIn, and you’ll see connections earning new positions and promotions. Consider that these contacts might be just one degree or two away from hiring managers at their respective companies.
A user you reject today might BECOME your new hiring manager at some point.
Keep these points in mind the next time a new LinkedIn connection request pops up.
Rather than immediately rejecting the invitation, you might reap significant rewards by accepting the opportunity to welcome a valuable new contact.