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22 September, 2020 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Career Networking
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How Many LinkedIn Connections Are Too Many?

Posted September 22nd, 2020 | Author: John G. Self

How many LinkedIn connections are enough? At what point do you have too many?

Steve Burda is reportedly the connections champion on LinkedIn.  He has more than 50,000.

180, 275, 350, more than 500?  More than 25,000?

During my earlier years as an executive recruiter, I would zero in on a potential candidate’s number of connections.  If they had less than 750 I would think, ‘Oh brother, this person is going to be in trouble.’ I would assume that the executive was not investing enough time in supporting his/her career by building a robust network.  That was the conventional wisdom at the time.  Now, I am not so sure that the assessment is accurate.

In the early days of LinkedIn, many of us used the highly scientific method of selecting potential network connections; if it moves, shoot it.   Digital networking was a new thing in 2003.  We had little or no idea what we were doing and today there is plenty of evidence to support that conclusion.   Many of us early adapters ended up with more than our share of insurance salespeople and financial planners from the furthest reaches of Northwest Washington to Key West, Florida.  They were probably all genuinely lovely people but of little or no use to our respective business growth strategies.  Today, with the increasing demands on our time, the shotgun, willy-nilly approach to professional networking is toast.   We must all be more strategic in who we select to include. 

In the early days of LinkedIn, many of us used the highly scientific method of selecting potential network connections; if it moves, shoot it.

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So, to answer those two questions, we first must know this:  what is your objective?  If the purpose of building a professional network is to support your professional development and career advancement, then connecting with thousands of contacts is probably not that useful.  If you are promoting a new book or services with mass-market appeal, then perhaps you can make the case that there is value in bigger is better.    

Let us focus on the most common (read: real) reason people create a professional network:  to get another job when they are laid off or are terminated.  Expecting someone you connected with on LinkedIn but have not had any contact with in the last three years to stop what they are doing to help you find a job is not even remotely plausible.

However, if your network is comprised of 250 contacts and they are senior leaders at your targeted organizations, places you might like to work, then I would argue your network is more valuable than being connected with 2,000 or 3,000 people you do not know and have not interacted with.  

However, if your network is comprised of 250 contacts and they are senior leaders at your targeted organizations, places you might like to work, then I would argue your network is more valuable than being connected with 2,000 or 3,000 people you do not know and have not interacted with. 

The key to success is interaction.  You must approach your network with the idea that these 250 or 300 people are so important to you that you will not allow a month to go by without their receiving something of value from you.  Building a meaningful relationship takes time.  You cannot rush it.  

If your plan to grow your network is not strategically aligned with your career plan, your chances of deriving real value for your career objectives are not that great.

We help clients build a career plan and strategic networking strategy. info@JohnGSelf.Com

© 2020 John Gregory Self

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