LinkedIn exists as a networking platform. It’s one big, digital industry conference. Just instead of shaking hands and handing out business cards, you send each other invites.

But any social media platform comes with privacy and reputational concerns. Along with being a networking platform, LinkedIn serves as your public face. Any new client, any prospective employer, any new co-worker (even your potential romantic partners) will head to LinkedIn to learn about you and your career.

With that in mind, some vigilance is needed. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding whether to accept that stranger’s request:

Pro: More People, More Opportunity

Most experts agree you get a boost from a wide LinkedIn network. The basic rule: the more, the merrier.

There aren’t a lot of incremental costs to having additional connections on your LinkedIn page (it’s not like you’re paying a $1 per connection or something). Meanwhile, most connections are worth at least an incremental benefit.

First, you never know where an opportunity will come from. Keeping your options open provides a good overall strategy.

Second, having a large network helps you get found. LinkedIn’s algorithm favors additional connections, so prospective employers seeking your skills will be more likely to find you if you have a wider footprint.

Con: Privacy/Spam Concerns

Keeping all the pros of additional connections in mind, you shouldn’t blindly accept every request you receive. There are limits.

Like any online encounter, you need to have your guard up. Every invitation you get was sent for a reason. If you don’t know the person, they found you somehow. They are looking to benefit from the connection in ways you might not fully understand at first.

The purpose of LinkedIn is to create mutually beneficial connections. Each person gets something out of the connection, but watch out. There are companies and individuals out there looking to take advantage of the platform, proliferating scams or simply putting out spam for marketing purposes.

So, don’t blindly accept every unfamiliar invite. Put it through the usual online smell test.

Con: Your Network Gets so Big, It Becomes Pointless

You follow a policy of accepting every invitation that comes along and now you have a giant LinkedIn network.

Nicely done, but, unfortunately, most of it is useless. That’s no judgment on the people in it. Individually, they all might represent a useful contact. Collectively, though, the sheer number of contacts becomes unwieldy. It becomes difficult to triage the truly useful connections in any particular circumstances from the mere filler.

Don’t make your network so bulky it becomes unmanageable. Some reasonable culling can make a smaller network more useful, as the contacts are more focused and the whole thing becomes easier to manage.

Feeling overwhelmed by everything that goes into career building?

Deciding who to accept on LinkedIn sounds simple, but as we’ve seen, there are some pitfalls. Using a staffing agency can help sidestep some of these tricky situations. Pridestaff’s courteous and professional staff can get your career on track. Contact us today to find out more.

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