Are you focused on getting a job? And you don’t have much of a LinkedIn network? Relax, that’s not unusual. But prepare to get to work because a larger network will help recruiters find you on LinkedIn.
Why Do LinkedIn Connections Matter?
But first, why do LinkedIn connections matter?
From the platform’s earliest days, Founder Reid Hoffman was concerned about how members would evaluate each others’ reputations.
A 2005 patent awarded to Hoffman noted:
“Oftentimes the most relied on sources of information concerning the reputation of a person, organization or service are the recommendations of friends, family, neighbors and/or colleagues.”
Thus, the importance of who you know has been baked into LinkedIn’s algorithm from the beginning.
But, from a practical perspective, how does that impact your job search 15-plus years later?
How Your LinkedIn Network Increases Your Visibility to Recruiters
Well, connections help the algorithm determine who to show in search results when a recruiter looks for candidates.
For instance, if I start looking for a CPA, LinkedIn instantly drops a menu of my 1st-level connections that match that term.
If I don’t choose any of those people and hit return, I’m immediately fed a page of 2nd-level connections.
The algorithm does that because the person who wrote it assumes I will prefer people who know my 1st-level connections to strangers.
So, think about it; the more 1st-level connections you have, the more 2nd-level connections you have.
Thus, if you want to show up in recruiters’ search results, you will benefit from being connected to them or people who are connected to them.
As your network gets bigger, you will automatically become a 2nd-level connection for more and more recruiters.
How Your LinkedIn Network Increases Your Visibility on the Recruiter Platform
In addition to the boost mentioned above, when a recruiter uses LinkedIn’s premium Recruiter product, LinkedIn gives them an option to view people in their results who are connected to people who work for their company.
I asked a friend in talent acquisition for a Fortune 500 company if she prioritizes those search results when she’s recruiting. “Absolutely!” was her response.
So, if you want to work for one of the popular FAANG companies (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google), connecting with people who work there will help their recruiters find you on LinkedIn.
With those explanations, I hope you can see how a large, targeted network will help your job search by making you more visible to recruiters.
The Size of Your LinkedIn Network Matters to Hiring Managers
Finally, a 2018 study of hiring managers found that LinkedIn profiles with more connections got better ratings than those with limited connections.
Who Do You Know?
So, it’s good for your career to grow your LinkedIn network.
If you have a small network, say fewer than 100 people, start by connecting with everyone in your phone and email address books, then make a list of current and former:
- Who else? Please share ideas in the comments below.
After you’ve made your list, invite them to connect.
Sample LinkedIn Connection Request
Here’s a sample request:
I’m updating my LinkedIn and would love to connect.
BTW, if you don’t see a “Connect” button on the person’s profile, click the 3 dots to the far right of their photo; you’ll find it there.
As you grow your network, you’ll be able to connect with 2nd-level connections in your target companies and elsewhere.
You can find them by:
- Searching LinkedIn on the company name
- Clicking “People”
- Clicking “All filters”
- In “Connections,” checking “2nd”
Once you have a list of results, view them for people you share at least 3 connections with and send them this carefully-crafted invitation to connect.
As you can see, by growing your network with intention, you make yourself more visible to recruiters when they’re looking for someone like you.
How Many LinkedIn Connections Do I Have?
If you don’t know how many connections you have, look at your profile. You’ll see the number below your headline.
If it says 500+, click on the 500 to get a full count and list of your connections.
How Many LinkedIn Connections Can I Have?
LinkedIn caps 1st-level networks at 30,000 people, although if you beg, they sometimes allow more.
The Big List of Tips
If you want more ideas for growing your network, see the comments below. After that, check out this big compendium of ideas I crowdsourced on LinkedIn.
Is There a Limit to Sending Connection Requests on LinkedIn?
In case you’re wondering, “Does LinkedIn limit how many connection requests I can send in a day?” the answer is, “Yes.”
How many? No one knows.
However, having a Premium account seems to solve the problem unless you’re sending so many requests the algorithm flags you as a potential bot.
The company also limits the number of lifetime invitations you can send to 5,000. Again, if you beg, you might get more.
How to See Pending Connections on LinkedIn
If you want to see your pending invitations:
- Click “My Network” on the top horizontal rail.
- Then, click “Manage,” which is down and to the right.
- Then, click “Sent.”
You will get an aged list of your outstanding invitations.
However, you won’t know if the people on the list rejected your invitation or if they haven’t seen it. It takes months for some people to check their invitations.
You’ll also see a “Withdraw” button to the right of each person’s name. If you want to remove an invitation, click “Withdraw.”
Finally, when you grow your network quickly, you might end up with a few people who aren’t a good fit for you. Don’t worry; you can see how to remove a LinkedIn connection here.
Let’s Connect on LinkedIn
Please invite me to connect on LinkedIn. The more I know about my readers, the better I can make my blog.
Plus, you’ll automatically get 20,000 new 2nd-level connections!
Featured on SmartBrief on Your Career
Updated January 2021
© 2010 – 2021, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, and Business News Daily.
Let her expertise inform your job search strategy and decision making.
Contact Donna here to learn more about her resume and LinkedIn profile services and fee structure.