In the midst of job hunting—but still refusing LinkedIn invites from others you don’t know? You could be hurting your job search (or even your career future) by doing so.

Here’s why: LinkedIn is built on the premise that we are each separated by just a connection or two. Nearly every invitation you accept can put you closer to someone you really want to know.

But there’s another twist as well. Outside of sending InMail (LinkedIn’s internal email), recruiters and employers aren’t able to reach out to you unless you belong to the same Group.

Only a limited number of InMails are included with every account type, which means that power users, such as recruiters, are continually trying to find ways of contacting you for free. Don’t you want to make it easy for them?

Besides, what’s worse about limiting your network is that you’ll encounter situations where YOU need THEM. If you’ve tried to run a closed network, but find that you now need an introduction to facilitate your job search, you’ll be forced to hunt through potential contacts to string together a chain of forwarding InMails (not the most efficient use of your time).

Proponents of using LinkedIn for real-world connections often argue that, unless you’re a declared Open Networker (accepting all invitations), it makes better business sense to restrain your volume of connections.

However, refusing to add someone to your LinkedIn network when you’re job searching can be downright foolish… especially if this person has a wide circle of influence themselves.

So, forget about the implications that seem to come with taking on a new connection (it isn’t “friending,” after all).

Unless you have a very good reason to ignore that new invitation, it’s possible that clicking Accept might put you closer to your career goals.

– Dedicated to Mark

 

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