People you don’t know are constantly requesting to connect on LinkedIn. Are these requests you should accept? Are they spam? Could they help boost your career? Let’s find out.
What LinkedIn Has to Say About It
What’s interesting is their response is somewhat contradictory. “On the one hand, LinkedIn says you should only accept invitations from people you know and trust,” writes leadership expert Jena McGregor. “On the other, the site itself likes to suggest ‘people you may know.’”
Reasons to Accept
1. It unlocks new opportunities.
You never know how you may benefit from a new connection. It could potentially lead to you finding an amazing job. For many people, that’s reason enough.
2, You expand your network.
You may have a small network if you limit yourself only to the immediate circle of people you know directly. Accepting requests from people you don’t know guarantees that it will grow.
3. You don’t limit yourself to a small geographical area.
This can position you to make connections all over the country and even internationally.
Reason to Decline
There’s one primary reason you wouldn’t want to accept. Your network can become somewhat diluted. After all, there’s a difference between having a large network and having a strong one.
Making the Call
Although there are reasons for and against accepting LinkedIn requests from strangers, it’s safe to say the argument tilts toward the “for” side. Most experts would agree you have more to gain than you have to lose. Job search coach Theresa Merrill explains you should be in good shape as long you do the following before accepting.
- Check out their profile – Make sure they have a solid network with at least 15 connections.
- Make sure they have a profile picture – Not having ones means that it’s either fake or they don’t understand social media best practices.
- Ask why they requested to become a connection – Just be polite about it, and see if it seems valid. If you don’t get a response, then don’t accept.
A common question for LinkedIn users is whether or not it’s a good idea to accept a request from a stranger. The bottom line is it’s generally okay as long as certain criteria are met and the person will add legitimate value to your network.
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