Saturday, July 29, 2006

Breaking Connections

LinkedIn now offers a way to break a connection without having to contact customer service. So if you ever regretted sending an invitation to connect to someone who accepted your invitation, or regretted accepting an invitation to connect, now you can break it by going to the LinkedIn page to remove connections.

Konstantin Guericke, Co-Founder and Vice President of LinkedIn, posted the "top ten reasons we've heard why members break connections" to the LinkedIn Bloggers Yahoo! Group:
  1. Accepted invitation without realizing that sender could now ask for introductions, send profile updates, etc.
  2. Wants to keep connection list visible to connections, but a few bad apples "crept in" and so now hides her connection list from all
  3. Knew that you make introductions for connections, but weren't comfortable making introductions because they didn't know the sender well enough to recommend them, sender picked poor targets or sender's pitch to meet the target included only a poor value proposition for target
  4. They show their connection list, but connection doesn't theirs
  5. Connection didn't recommend their connections when making introductions for them, so their connection put them into an awkward position with regards to their connections who was the target
  6. Connection asked for too many introductions, sent too many profile updates, etc.
  7. Connection added things to their name field that shouldn't be there (email address, strange symbols, etc.)
  8. Had a falling out with the connection (in life, didn't act on their introduction requests, gave endorsement to connection, but now want to remove it, etc.)
  9. Wants to get rid off people in second degree who water down strength of network by having connections they don't even know [See LinkedIn Notes post "A Potential Drawback to Connecting to Superconnectors"]
  10. Just too many connections--now wants quality over quantity to create a better LinkedIn experience
Of course, you may want to be careful about disconnecting--your target may notice and not be happy.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Searching For A Job With LinkedIn

Konstantin Guericke, Co-Founder and Vice President of LinkedIn, posted the following job search suggestions to My LinkedIn Power Forum:
  1. Connect with former bosses, people who worked for you, fellow co-workers and other people who know your work (could be donors in your case or people who have attended events you have organized).
  2. Get endorsements from all past bosses.
  3. Make sure your profile on LinkedIn highlights your accomplishments and not just what you were responsible for. Make sure you turn on the checkbox unter your contact settings that you are open to career opportunities. Think about what search terms recruiters or hiring managers may enter to look for people like you. Make sure those terms are in your profile.
  4. Make it easy for people to find and contact you. Sign up for a Personal Plus account ( and turn on OpenLink.
  5. Be sure to connect with everyone who knows you and is likely to be willing to recommend you. Go to "Find Contacts"
    ( or download the Outlook Toolbar
    ( if you use Outlook.
  6. Search for jobs on LinkedIn. Don't forget to look at the second tab of results called "The Web". There are over 5 million jobs listed.
  7. In addition to applying for a job listed on LinkedIn, request a referral to the poster. Research the poster, so your cover letter can be as personalized and targeted as possible.
  8. Download the LinkedIn JobsInsider if you are also looking on Monster, HotJobs, CareerBuilder, Craigslist, etc.:
  9. Type the names of the 10 organizations you most would like to work for and see which of your contacts know people there or know people who know people there
  10. Search for people in your region that work in the industry you are targeting. Under "interested In" select hiring managers. Contact people in your second degree. Instead of asking for a job, offer them something of value and ask to meet.
  11. Search for people like you and see where they are working. This may give you an idea of who is hiring people like you.
  12. See what your former classmates are up to ( Some may be in a position to hire you and may give preference to someone from the same alma mater.
For more ideas from myself and Liz Ryan, see Using LinkedIn To Get A Specific Position.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

LinkedIn Public Directory and Nicknames

In my LinkedIn profile, my name was listed as Richard (Rick) Upton, which was useful when LinkedIn didn't know that Rick is a nickname for Richard: Users could search for either Rick Upton or Richard Upton and find me either way.

LinkedIn has since implemented an enhancement to enable its search engine to know that Rick is a nickname of Richard. More recently, LinkedIn has begun publishing a publicly accessible directory of LinkedIn users for those users who have agreed to having their profile shown on the Internet. Here are two examples:

When my profile name was Richard (Rick) Upton, my name didn't show up on either of the lists above. Now that I have changed my profile name to Richard Upton, I show up on both lists.
Maybe you are in a situation similar to the one that I was in?

UPDATE April 27, 2015: My profile name on LinkedIn is now Rick Upton.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Segregating Your Network Connections by Strength

Here are some tips to maximize your reach in LinkedIn without doing any of the following:
  1. Compromising the strength of your LinkedIn network.
  2. Working against LinkedIn's intended usage.
  3. Breaking LinkedIn's user agreement.
Segregate your network into three segments, then maximize the reach within each segment:
  1. Maximize your reach through trusted connections (i.e. maximize your "strong" network) by educating your trusted connections about how they can use LinkedIn trusted connections to their benefit, and encourage them to connect to people they know and trust.
  2. Maximize your reach through common affiliations (i.e. maximize your "weak" network) by educated potential LinkedIn Group members how they can use LinkedIn Groups to their benefit, and encourage them to tell potential LinkedIn Group members about the group.
  3. Maximize your reach to people with whom you have no connection other than being a fellow member of LinkedIn (i.e. maximize your "superweak" network) by being a member of OpenLink (to receive introductions from anyone) and having a business account (to send InMails to anyone).
I do not advocate the goal of maximizing network reach by any means possible (e.g. putting your email address in your name field, joining alumni LinkedIn Groups for schools of which you're not an alumni, etc.). Mixing strong, weak, and superweak connections can cause a couple of problems:
  1. Introductions from people who are blantantly violating the user agreement may be viewed with a jaundiced eye: If someone is violating the LinkedIn user agreement, how much can they be trusted for any business agreement?
  2. Third degree strong connections can be broken by shorter second degree weak connections, thus weakening and therefore reducing the value of the trusted chain. (see for further explanation).

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Using LinkedIn To Get A Specific Position

How can one use LinkedIn to find employment? Here are some ideas I posted to the Yahoo! Group MyLinkedInPowerForum in response to a query from a recent college graduate looking for a position related to web design in the Washington D.C. area:

0) Of course, build your LinkedIn network using tips posted within this group's
messages and all over the 'net.

1) Use LinkedIn to connect to all of your former classmates and professors. Note that professors are often overlooked, but many professors have key contacts in sundry industries, not just academia. Assuming you made a good impression in school, when you ask one of these people to forward a LinkedIn request for you (e.g. to a potential employer), they will be add a note about what a great student you were.

2) Send LinkedIn requests for informational interviews to those who are a) at companies in which you are interested, and/or b) in positions in which you are interested in (in the short term or the long term). Here's a good guide to informational interviews:

3) For a company in which you're interested, send a LinkedIn request to someone on the inside to see if they will submit applications for you. Often this can be a win-win situation: Your application might get more attention being submitted by an employee, and the employee may be able to earn a referral bonus
if you get hired.

4) For a position in which you're interested, use any contacts you've made at the company (from 2 and/or 3 above) to find out who the hiring manager is. See if you can initiate a conversation with them directly. Some managers may turn you down, saying that policy is for HR to handle all requests about positions. Yet in other situations, talking directly to the manager may get you a position which you couldn't have gotten otherwise, because HR may have filtered your application out.
Shortly after I posted my advice, Liz Ryan, founder of WorldWit, wrote a response in which she cautioned against following my advice, and gives additional advice. You can read this response at Dave Taylor's blog The Intuitive Life Business Blog.