Heather Hamilton at One Louder had this post Wanting access to my network is different than wanting to be in my network regarding some recent experience she has had with LinkedIn. Not with the site itself but the “networkers” that have been contacting her.
I have recently started doing something similar. If I receive one of the template invitations I email the sender asking for more information. No answer gets you a declined invitation.
Admittedly when I first started using LinkedIn I connected with people I did not know to “use” their network and see who was out there. The thing is, I said so. No lies or gimmicks and a genuine invitation with my intent.
Now I am very specific on who I want to meet and network with.
Here was my recent LinkedIn experiment.
I posted the message below on one of the large groups I belong to. The main goal was to connect and build relationships with people I share an interest with. I think I was pretty specific with who I am looking to meet but I still had template invitations from Belgium and the Czech Republic.
I should restate that. A small number of responses were like that. I have met more than ten people I did not know before that I have been able to start email conversations with. Was it worth the hassle of receiving invitations from people halfway around the world? Absolutely.
I think LinkedIn is an awesome tool.
By nature I am an open networker. If you want to be introduced to someone I know, ask. I frequently send email to individuals who I think should get to know each other. (I hope LinkedIn works on that idea) I want my friends, colleagues, and contacts to get to know each other.
If you are using LinkedIn here is my profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/mnheadhunter and if you think we should connect explain why.
Here is the LinkedIn group message I sent:
An introduction from Minneapolis, Minnesota
Greetings Linkedin friends,
My name is Paul DeBettignies and I have been lurking in the shadows of this group for about a year now.
After recently incorporating my information technology search firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota and doing a redesign of my blog I thought this would be a good time to introduce myself.
I am a big fan of helping people I know connect to other people I know. Here is the
focus of my networking efforts, if you are a:
-Information Technology professional in or near Minnesota
-Experienced consultant in Oracle, SAP, Hyperion or other ERP skills and are interested in speaking about opportunities with Big 4 or regional consulting firms
-Java or C++ developer and have interest in working for Wall Street financial services firms
-Entrepreneur in or near Minnesota
-Recruiter (search firm or in house) in or near Minnesota
-Recruiter in the United States who actively seeks out soon to be or recent college graduates and would like some help getting introduced to University of Minnesota grads.
-Graduate of the University of Minnesota
-Staff member or volunteer of a Minnesota nonprofit
then I would be interested in networking with you. Let’s find out who I know that can be of help to you.
I prefer to receive an invitation that explains a bit who you are, how I can be of help, and what we have in common. I am not a big fan of linking for the sole purpose of linking so please be descriptive.
Thank you all for your time and best wishes,
Nerd Search, LLC