I noticed that among the ten ideas for job hunting in my last post, the idea people talked about the most was using LinkedIn. This doesn’t surprise me. The promise of LinkedIn is to make your network work for you, and that’s enticing.
But the process of building a network on LinkedIn has always felt very nuanced to me. For example, I can never decide when it’s time to send someone an invitation. I feel nervous about it like I am asking someone on a second date — Did the first date go well enough? Do we want to hang out more?
So when LinkedIn co-founder Konstantin Guericke offered to do an interview with me, I jumped at the chance because I want to be better at using LinkedIn myself.
Here’s the interview:
Q: How many connections do I need to make LinkedIn really work for me?
A: Thirty connections is usually enough. But the quality of connections is important — How well the person knows your work so they can make a strong introduction for you.
Q: What makes a connection high quality?
A: Ask yourself what value they can add in an introduction. Your network can include people you work for, people who are working for you, and with you. For example if you’re in sales a customer can make an introduction for you.
Quality is also someone with a lot of connections, but you have to look to see if it’s a superconnected person or someone who is ardent about building up their connections on LinkedIn.”
Q: Why does someone with 500 good connections need to use LinkedIn?
A: If someone asks this person “Do you know someone at Coke,” then the work is on the broker [to figure out who in his network would be appropriate]. Or he can say, “Link to me on LinkedIn.”
Q: What are some ways to use LinkedIn to get a job?
A: Sometimes the hiring manager you are looking for is three degrees away from you, but the company is two degrees. Also, use LinkedIn to prepare for an interview. Often people have their interests listed. Then you can talk about interests or people you might have in common.
Q: Any other tips for using LinkedIn?
A: Once you have the offer, ask people who used to work at the company but no longer work there — they are free to talk. Also, do due diligence on your future boss by finding someone who use to work for the boss; you can type in the company and title and you might find someone who had the job in the past.
Q: How do I get over the fear of my invitation being rebuffed?
A: Over half the time people say yes.
This should have been my cue to say, “So do you want to connect with me via LinkedIn?” It would have been great. I could have spent all night clicking through his 500+ contacts carefully forming a long term strategy to tactfully leverage this treasure. But alas, I did not ask. Not even the Brazen Careerist can be brazen all the time.