How (not) to connect with people on LinkedIn

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Ok, I’m being repetitive and insisting on a subject that has already been covered many times by other people (not only translators), including myself. However, I hope that, someday, somehow, people might start realizing they are doing it wrong. Yes, I know, I hope too much. Nevertheless, if every time I tackle the subject I am able to change one single person, I’ll be satisfied. So here we go again.

LinkedIn is the largest social network on the Internet exclusively aimed at professionals where you can show your resume, career and educational background, work portfolio, connect with other professionals, join professional groups, follow companies. The problem is people think it is just like any other social media platform and do not treat it with the ethics and professionalism it requires.

As its own slogan says, Relationships Matter, therefore, the aim of the connections you make on the platform is not only to add up to your network in number and show you are well-know and know plenty of people. Do you walk around the streets asking unknown people to be your friend? I hope not. Otherwise, you’ll look like a freak. At work, if you want to be someone’s friend, you introduce yourself to the person and tell them why you’re approaching, right? So why not behave the same way on LinkedIn? According to Milton Beck, Talent Solutions Sales Director at LinkedIn Latin America, no behavior you would not have in person is accepted on a LinkedIn contact.

Therefore, do not add any random person just because you thought they were good-looking or influential, or even only because they have the same job as you do. Please, don’t, seriously. If you really want to add someone to your network who might not know or recognize you, introduce yourself and explain why you would like to add them to your network before actually doing so. You also have the option of sending a message with the request, so the person can read your introduction before completely ignoring it for not knowing you (something most professional people on LinkedIn do, including me). Besides being polite, this attitude calls the attention of the person to you, who gets to know you a little better, instead of only accepting another random person that will get totally lost in the middle of hundreds or thousands of other connections.

It’s better to have a few quality connections than a lot of random connections. Do not look unprofessional, only add people you know and always send introductions with your friend requests! Afterall, it’s your professional image at stake, not your personal one. It could cost you job opportunities.