Here's an interesting tidbit: According to Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies, the magic number of LinkedIn connections is 143. Apparently, if you have fewer than that you're not going to have second- or third-degree connections in any of the companies you want to work for.
So how do you grow your LinkedIn network? Here are four ways:
- Import your email addresses from Gmail, Hotmail, etc., and invite the contacts to connect. If you use a desktop e-mail client, you can click on Import your desktop email contacts and upload the file to LinkedIn.
- Mine your classmates. On the Add connections page, you'll see a tab called Classmates. Clicking this will bring up colleagues based on the schools you have listed in your profile. You can sort by graduation year as well.
- Colleagues. Using this tab you can find people who work or worked at the companies you have indicated in your Experience section. You can scroll through the list and connect with anyone you recognize.
- People you may know. This tab is an extension of the box you see when you first log in. Based on the information in your profile, LinkedIn will make a guess on other people you may know and lets you send an invitation to connect.
Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.