Note: On August 5, 2005, substantial changes were implemented to the LinkedIn service. This post has been updated on August 9, 2005, to reflect these changes.
Are you concerned that someone is looking for you in LinkedIn, and they won't be able to find you? Maybe someone is looking for your skills set and experience, and would offer you the opportunity of lifetime...but can't because you are out of reach.
The purpose of this post is to outline a quick and easy way to eliminate the risk of missing opportunities to be contacted via LinkedIn.
If you would like to mitigate or eliminate this risk, two solutions are:
1) Make hundreds or thousands of connections to people you don't know to extend your "trusted network", and join many LinkedIn groups.
2) Change a contact setting for your LinkedIn account to allow anyone registered in LinkedIn to see at least some of your profile information.
The first option will take a lot of time sending and receving invitations to join people's networks, and some effort to find and join LinkedIn groups. After you connect to hundreds or even thousands of people and join numerous groups, you will still find that you cannot reach everyone, so the risk of missing an opportunity is mitigated, but not eliminated.
The second option enables anyone to see at least a portion of your profile, but only takes a minute:
1) Log into LinkedIn
2) Click on the "Settings" link at the top of the home page.
3) Select "Through an Introduction from one of my connections, or directly via InMail™" if it's not already selected.
4) Click "Save Changes" at the bottom of the page.
...and you're done!
By selecting the option above, you can be contacted by anyone in your trusted network and LinkedIn groups, as well as anyone who would like to send you an InMail. InMail is a new feature which allows paying subscribers or single InMail message purchasers to contact you directly without going through a trusted network. Because InMail messages are only available through a paid subscription of $15 per month for three active InMails or $10 per individual InMail, you are protected from spam by the sheer cost of sending you an InMail.
Of course, if you find that you get inundated with InMails, you can always turn the feature off.
Going back to the first option of connecting to hundreds or thousands of people, some will argue that there are other reasons one would want to do this, including increased opportunities to be able to connect to people who can only be reached through a trusted network. But I'll defer discussion of the pros and cons of having numerous contacts for another post on another day.