I’ve been writing the networking part of the Agile Job Search book, and realized you could use some of the advice before the book is ready.
I receive lots of requests to link with people on LinkedIn. Some people I’ve met at conferences or workshops. Some people I know. Some people I share common groups with. Some people I’ve met only by email. Most people I’ve never met in person at all.
I often accept the offer to link. However, I’ve stopped accepting the offer to link with people who have zero connections and no picture and who use the generic LinkedIn “since you are a person I can trust” text. Why? Because I can’t tell if these people are real. I can’t tell if I can trust you. Why would they want to connect with me of all people, especially if they are not in my industry?
If you want to connect with me, give me a reason to do so. Tell me how you know me. Show me your picture. Yes, I’m harping on the darn picture. If you are looking for a job or looking to hire someone or to expand your network, you have no excuse for not having a picture on your LinkedIn profile. Any reasonable picture will do. Any unreasonable picture, as long as it’s not of your private parts, will do. But don’t hide behind anonymity.
Just this morning, the husband of a close friend sent me an invitation to link. He said in his invitation, “I’m so-and-so’s husband.” Well, that cemented it. I would add anyone from her family, and certainly her husband. I trust her, and by extension her family. Remember back in Networking for a New Job or New Candidates, that Pfeffer said you build loose ties in many places? My friend’s husband is a loose tie to me. We trust each other through my friend. And, he’s not anonymous to me. Yes, he has a picture.
LinkedIn is not built on anonymity. It’s built on your experience, on your network, on your ability to use your network and your ability to help other people. If you’re not going to contribute, then don’t bother. And, don’t bother me.