post by Stephanie Nelson

LinkedIn can be a very powerful tool for anyone in the workforce.  If you’re looking for a job, it’s a great place to connect with potential employers.  If you’re looking to hire, it’s also a great place to find potential employees.  And a lot of how you find these people and/or opportunities is through your connections.

However, connecting via LinkedIn is an art in itself.

By LinkedIn’s “rules,” you should know those to whom you send a connection request.  But I think we can all agree that the definition of “know” can get a little loose in these days of social networking.

It’s also important to remember that you are judged not just by your own profile, but also by those to whom you’re connected.  If you’re connected to a LinkedIn spammer, it reflects poorly on you, too.

So what do you do?

First, if you’re sending a connection request (especially to someone with whom you’re not very familiar), don’t use the default message.  The underlying message that sends is that my connection is not worth the time to be bothered with changing it.  And who wants to be connected to someone who doesn’t value the connection?

Second, when you’re changing that connection message, tell how you know the person and/or why you’d like to be connected. That background information is key.

Third, if you find yourself connected to someone who spams you or continually posts updates with which you’re not comfortable, remember it’s ok to delete the connection.  Just as you wouldn’t associate in real life with someone who could sully your good image, you don’t have to do it online, either.

Do you have any advice for connecting on LinkedIn?  If you’d like to connect with me, visit my profile.  Just don’t send me that default message!  🙂