It is easy to click on a button and find that you have got another LinkedIn contact. Box ticked. But remember, it is not a competition to get as many friends as you can and then start boasting to your colleagues at work. The social site is designed to be a business aid and help you to build and manage your professional network. So should you be accepting invites from people willy nilly?
Well, there is a simple answer to that, and it’s no. Even the company itself recommends that you only click yes on invites when they are from people you know. Managing your network efficiently is a key part of having an account, so if you can’t control what’s happening then consider whether it is really the best tool for you/your business.
There are a number of options when it comes to invites on LinkedIn. First of all you can simply choose to accept them, which will result in the person being added as one of your first degree connections. Secondly, you can opt to wait and reply to the person who has sent you an invite, without adding them to your network. Next up is the ignore button which puts the invitation into your archive folder but does not let the person know that you have declined their invitation – this is particularly handy when you do not want to offend an acquaintance. You also have the option to report an invitation as spam.
If a person comes calling that you don’t recognise then the chances are that they are from a recruitment agency. Now linking with them can be beneficial if you are in the market for a job – after all they have gone to the trouble of finding someone with your skills and getting in touch. However, if you’re not in the market then it’s likely to be a nuisance that you don’t need. Click yes at your peril! And remember too that other people will know when you have linked with a recruitment firm – if it happens numerous times then it might just start sending warning bells to your current employer!
When it comes to security, it is important to remember to change your LinkedIn password on a regular basis. Back in June the site was the subject of some unwelcome publicity after falling victim to a security breach which resulted in the passwords of more than one million of its users being leaked. That said, changing your password is not simply enough in itself, you also need to make sure that it is not something that someone else will be able to crack without trying. Research carried out after the attack revealed that one of the top passwords stolen was 12345. A considerable number of people didn’t exactly think outside the box it seems when choosing a LinkedIn password – other popular ‘secure’ choices were “job” and “work”.
So remember, while LinkedIn can be a fantastic tool when used correctly, it is vital to consider the security implications and always be careful when accepting new contacts.
Janice Lincoln is a freelance writer specialising in business matters such as looking for jobs via an it recruitment agency.