Becoming a LinkedIn LION: Balancing the Pros and Con for Your Job Search
Are you proud of the number of connections you have on LinkedIn? Is this a metric you wish to cultivate? If so, can you definitively explain the value of having a thousand connections? If you can, you should consider becoming a LinkedIn Open Networker, or LION.
We all know that special person who just “knows everyone.” When we have a question about something specific, we ask that person for a contact, and he or she just pulls one up, having built a Rolodex of the right people. In the parlance of Jim Collins’s personal board of directors, this is the “connector” who can help us find the right resources. On LinkedIn, this connector is called a LION, and this person is willing to serve as a connecting hub for hundreds, if not thousands of LinkedIn connections.
The value of becoming a LION is clear. The more people with whom you are connected on LinkedIn, the more likely you are to have a connection who has a connection in a company of interest to you. So if this is true, why shouldn’t everyone seek to build a LinkedIn connection cast of thousands?
The pros of becoming a LinkedIn LION are certainly clear. By announcing your status change, you’ll be inundated with connection requests of perhaps hundreds. Feel free to accept them all. Watch your profile views grow radically week to week. Post interesting status updates along the way, and you’ll likely see your posts circulate widely.
On the other hand, you won’t really know these new connections, unless you make a practice of getting to know each one. What is likely to happen is that people will connect with you specifically because they want access to your network, which is easy on LinkedIn but harder if not impossible in real life. How can you recommend the expertise of someone you don’t know–to someone you don’t know?
Thus, if you’re a numbers wonk and just want to see your metrics change, by all means become a LinkedIn LION. Announce your new position on all the groups to which you belong. Put it in your headline. Ask for connections and state that you’ll never give an “I don’t know this person” response to a request.
However, if you are a serious job seeker, you’ll see pretty quickly that LION status is just that–a status. It doesn’t have a qualitative impact on the strategy of your job search. Instead, keep building your network strategically. If that means that along the way you reach out to a LION–in your industry, in your job function, or known to someone you know well–to strategically access that person’s network, by all means do so. But don’t dilute the value of the connections among those who trust your discernment by thinning out your network beyond strategic need.
Are you a LinkedIn LION? Let Five Strengths know your thoughts from the other side.
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