Here's my standard reply to those who I don't know well who want to connect to me on LinkedIn:
Thank you for offering to connect to me on LinkedIn. Respectfully I must decline at this time.
Networking is about making meaningful connections. To simply connect to a stranger has little value. Everyone in my network is someone I personally know and can vouch for. Connections to people I don't know would devalue my ability to make referrals.
By showing the total number of connections LinkedIn unfortunately encourages members to simply add connections. In fact the real value is not how many connections someone has, but how useful those connections are. (To that end a better metric would be percentage of successful messages passed on.)
I do display my email because I wish to make myself easy to contact. Always feel free to contact me if there is something specific. One day if we have spent more time working together I would be happy to connect, but please understand I don't connect to someone for the sake of a connection.
Remember that networking is about relationships, it's not about collecting business cards, names, or links on a website.
In fact the real value is not how many connections someone has, but how useful those connections are.
Very valid point Mark. I don't bother with LinkedIn. I usually keep in touch with my past employers, recruiters and fellow professionals whom I worked with.
Having a good rapport with some handful of quality recuiters will be a good idea as well. They can not only sell your skills and ability with full confidence to potential employers but also can do door knocking on your behalf for any possible openings.
I also tend to keep in touch with employers whom I interviewed with and did not accept the offer for some reason. Useful connections have landed me in excellent job opportunities directly with the employers.
I havent had any good use of 'linked in' yet, so far, except getting reconnected with acquaintances (former schoolmates, former co-workers, current co-workers), who, really can help me in my career. In the same way, I can help them.
Quality more than quantity.
Joined: May 31, 2007
For freshers who are new to the Java/J2EE market, the networking could be a numbers game. But once you start establishing, it is better to build quality network based on your regular dealings. [ August 03, 2008: Message edited by: arulk pillai ]