LinkedIn connections: people you know peripherally, or only those you worked with directly?

I got a LinkedIn connection request from a higher-up in a different dept. at my corporation, and I’m debating whether or not to accept. I’ve heard people say you should only connect on LinkedIn with people that you’ve worked with directly in some capacity – you can vouch for their work ethics, for example, or you know whether or not they communicate well.

This guy has 500+ connections and seems to be sending connection requests to nearly everyone at the company – I’ve never heard of his name before, so I certainly don’t know if he’s a decent worker or anything like that, and I doubt he knows me at all.

On the other hand, I don’t have a wide net to cast as far as job networking goes, so I could see how having him among my LinkedIn connections could be useful.

Thoughts? Opinions on whether the “only people you’ve worked with directly” rule is appropriate or too rigid?
… Poll possible forthcoming if I can set it up in time.

I was unaware of that rule. I have hundreds of connections, but I still have no idea why. I don’t communicate with anyone through that website, nor do I even know how to.

But to answer the question in the OP, I don’t think linking to someone is any kind of endorsement. They have other ways to vouch for someone if you wish to.

LinkedIn isn’t Facebook. Its main purpose is to build current or future professional networks rather than social ties. I accept almost any legitimate invitation that may potentially help one of us in the future. The only ones that I reject are shady sounding characters from foreign countries and most recruiters. I think that is the way that most people use it.

I have never done much with LinkedIn but I have a decent amount of connections with people at all levels spread over many industries and geographical areas. If I ever need to contact them, there is an excellent chance that they will at least see and read my message.

LinkedIn is shyte.

What do you recommend for professional networking instead?

I, like several people here evidently, use LinkedIn but am not really sure why I do, or what it is ultimately for. Nothing beneficial has ever come of it, aside from very occasionally ex-colleagues reaching out to say ‘hi’ or whatever. It certainly hasn’t got me any jobs, pay-rises or valuable market intelligence. Some of my LinkedIn contacts really take their online profile very seriously; I see that they are constantly writing or sharing articles, and commenting on others. (Mostly, they seem like pretty mundane clickbait: ‘Ten secrets recruiters won’t tell you about interview body language!’). For better or worse, I don’t take part in this - these seem like very superficial ‘communities’ to me.

More weirdly, people I barely know will ‘endorse’ me for skills I do not have, or do have but without their having any knowledge of my having them. I’m not sure how to respond to this; am I supposed to endorse them for nice-sounding skills in the spirit of dishonest reciprocity? Again, I’ve never endorsed anyone for anything on LinkedIn; I have already learnt that such endorsements are a value-less currency. I could say that ‘Mr. X’ is an expert in ‘Staff Training’, but we would all know that this meant nothing.

Some folk boldly state on their LinkedIn profile tagline ‘Looking for New Opportunities…’, which strikes me as both desperately sad and balls-on-the-table brave; do people really get new jobs by advertising themselves in this way?

So perhaps LinkedIn is shit, or perhaps I’m using it wrong. Maybe a bit of both…

Almost everyone in my LinkedIn is a personal friend or acquaintance, not a work colleague.

There are a couple of schools of thought on how to best used LinkedIn. Some people prefer a smaller number of deeper connections. People you’ve actually worked with and have a relationship with.

Other people view LinkedIn as a database of potential contacts. The more contacts you have, the more you are likely to connect indirectly to other contacts.

Personally, I generally connect to nearly anyone I have some professional relationship with. But the caveats are a) I need to have met you in person at least once (maybe just once at a trade show) and b) you need to actually have a profile picture. IOW, I’m not going to connect with some random who found me through a keyword search.
LinkedIn itself, other than as a mechanism of tracking said contacts, is complete shit. Basically it has become a sea of clickbait articles, blog postings and spam retweeted back and forth.

I deleted my LinkedIn account a couple of years ago, but the second option in the poll described how I handled it. I’d accept a connection from anyone I vaguely knew.

The whole “endorsement” thing was the turning point for me. When people I barely knew were endorsing me for skills that they couldn’t possibly know I had—that’s when I started thinking, LinkedIn is a joke.

I’ve heard that LinkedIn is considered very important in some fields. I was never in one of those fields.

It seems to be one of those things which everyone in the media agrees is very important, but no-one really makes a great deal of use of, if that makes sense.

They can be people that I have worked with (colleagues),
or people I may want to work with (agents),
or people I know from elsewhere, and may have worked with but not in a professional fashion. I have never worked with either one of my brothers, but I know how each of them works.

It’s like all social media. Everyone makes a big deal about how important it is to be connected to it. But when you actually use it, you find it’s mostly a bunch of people you really don’t care about bombarding you with a bunch of crap you really don’t want to see.

I agree with Shagnasty. But when I was in between jobs a few weeks 18 months ago, I started to connect with people I had worked with to let them know that I was looking for a new job. Everybody was very helpful and even though I didn’t actually get my job through LinkedIn, I became quite convinced that my network could be very useful if I needed it again in the future. Now I remember that actually I asked some of them if I could use them as references, and a couple of them I also forewarned that they may be contacted regarding this or that position. Felt like an excellent tool in my job seeking toolbox at the time.

I only ran into one situation where it looked like I could make use of my LinkedIn connections (trying to backtrace why a company had shifted away from hiring me at the last minute after we’d gotten to the point of discussing which parking space I’d be using and having me fill out healthcare plan preferences and stuff) and it didn’t prove useful.

Meanwhile, I was always receiving connection requests from people I had never heard of, and a near-constant barrage of requests that I endorse or smile upon their corporate endeavors or review or otherwise contribute to the rising reputation of their latest initiatives.

The ongoing onslaught of these requests left me with the impression that most of the “connections” were bullshit, that it was all a shell game, with people racking up “connections” and “endorsement” that weren’t really from or about anyone they had any genuine contact with.

I could not figure out how to delete my profile (there doesn’t seem to be any way to do that) but I changed all the descriptive fields to “Not on LinkedIn any more; if you had this bookmarked please contact me via email instead” and I changed my profile name to “Nobody Home” and nuked all the references to anywhere I’d ever worked or anyone I had any connection to. ETA: Looks like I wasn’t the only one who did that

Know what? I kept on getting connection requests, addressed to “Nobody Home” and saying things like “I used to be your colleage at Saskatchewan Paper Products Ltd please accept this connection” or “Please upvote my new pencil-sharpening startup, you know how good I am at this stuff”. All from utter strangers, all with regards to companies and activities I had zero familiarity with. For me that confirmed the impression that there’s no “there there” on LinkedIn.

Your mileage may vary.

I only connect with people I know or know of. Confusingly LinkedIn (or more correctly, its staff) recommend both:

Connect to everybody!
Only connect with people you know!

First of all, the advice to only connect with people you know very well is not good. Connecting with a higher-up in a different department at your company is a no-brainer.

Most of the comments about LinkedIn are true in terms of use-ability. It used to be a decent source for industry news, but now it’s mostly crap. I most frequently use it to look up people whom I have not met yet to find out their title and so forth.

I only remember one time that LinkedIn was helpful to me. I was going to a job interview and discovered via LinkedIn that one of the interviewers - a name I had never heard of - was connected to my brother. So I called up my brother and discussed the guy, and on the interview brought up my brother’s name as well.

I don’t see it. If he doesn’t know you and has hundreds of connections, how would his being connected to you on LinkedIn be useful?

Whenever I get a LinkedIn invite from a name I don’t recognize I check the number of connections they have. Generally it will turn out that they have 500+ connections (which could mean thousands AFAIK), and in such cases I just ignore them.

Why? What do you get out of a LinkedIn connection? It’s not like the guy is now going to be your pal in the company because you clicked the same invite that he sends to everyone else at the company.