Over the past year, LinkedIn has continued to grow in popularity among professionals—especially those looking for a new position. The popular social media site gives you access to job postings, professional groups and, of course, prospective colleagues and employers to ‘connect’ with.
But this brings up a common question: how much is too much when it comes to adding new LinkedIn connections? Should job seekers focus on cultivating quality connections, or simply try to connect with as many professionals as possible?
The short answer is: both.
A large professional network is an undeniable advantage for job seekers. And making lots of LinkedIn connections does build you a professional network and audience faster and easier than any other venue.
One way to think about it is to treat LinkedIn as you would any real networking event. When you attend a live event, your goal should be to get to know people that you don’t already know. Keeping this in mind, LinkedIn provides an opportunity to network with hundreds of other professionals in your area just as you would if you were thrown together in one room. You never know when even a second or third degree connection could present a new career opportunity for you.
However, you also want to ensure that the connections that you’re making on LinkedIn are meaningful. No one wants to receive an invitation to connect with someone that has no relation to their professional interests or goals whatsoever. In other words, try to only connect with likeminded people that you think might be interested in your work or background. While this may limit your reach somewhat, it also gives you focus and helps you build a community of professionals with whom you share professional interests with.
Regardless of the number of connections you have, it is important that you nurture the relationships you are building on LinkedIn. Share updates with your network such as: blog posts, industry or companies news, and career milestones or advancements. Participate in LinkedIn groups and share your thoughts in their discussions.