The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

June 05, 2012

Overcoming the Challenges of the Open and Selective Networking Strategies

In a previous Abacus Group blog post, we examined the advantages and disadvantages of Open Networking and Selective Networking – the two major connection strategies for the professional social media hub LinkedIn. Although users will face obstacles regardless of their preferred approach, the application of certain tactics can significantly alleviate them and enhance one’s overall networking capabilities.  Below are the previously identified drawbacks of Open and Selective Networking along with corresponding methods for overcoming them.

OPEN NETWORKING

Disadvantage: Irrelevant newsfeed content and network updates.  Exposure to spam and/or unwanted advertising.

How to Overcome: Create a separate email address specifically for LinkedIn. This way you won’t be constantly bombarded with updates or invitations in your personal email inbox. In addition, you can utilize the Update filters (Coworkers, Groups, Shares, etc.) to reduce the amount of content displayed on your homepage. 

Disadvantage: Connection to users in fields, industries, position levels or geographic locations that are neither beneficial nor interesting.

How to Overcome: Using the Advanced Search function, you can filter your results for maximum relevance. If trying to find valuable second connections, simply check 2nd Connections, then filter accordingly in terms of industry, geography, keyword, etc. In addition, be sure to employ numerous relevant keywords in your profile.  This will enable people who share your professional interests to find and invite you to connect with them.

Disadvantage: Time wasted sifting through second degree connections for relevant users.

How to Overcome: Even if you aren’t finding the exact type of user you are looking for while exploring your 2nd Connections, you’ll still expose yourself to valuable information about the job market. For instance, are you frequently coming across second connections who list a particular skill in their profiles; you may want to follow up with additional research on what may be an emerging and important professional capability. Browsing your second connections at random may also be helpful in terms of discovering links to available jobs or other interesting professional content.

Disadvantage: Impersonal relationship with connections.

How to Overcome: If you take the time to regularly explore your connections’, frequently post status updates, and build a fully informative personal profile, then it’s likely that your relationship with connections will become increasingly more personal over time. By substantially projecting your employment history, career interests and your personality, as well as carefully examining others’ profiles, you’ll open yourself up to the likelihood of discovering beneficial networking opportunities.  Moreover, you will increase the extent to which other users value you as a LinkedIn connection, thereby generating more intimate business relationships. 

SELECTIVE NETWORKING


Disadvantage: Limiting the exposure of your organization, resume, website or other content to a finite number of users.

How to Overcome: Maximize the impact of what that finite number of users will be able to see. Do you have a professional blog, Twitter account, personal website or other similar content that you’d like to share with your connections? If yes, be diligent about sharing with your connections. As you allow your close friends and acquaintances to learn more about your personal brand, you’ll elevate yourself in their minds, increasing your odds of a referral.

Disadvantage: Restricting yourself from access to potentially valuable connections.

How to Overcome: Yes, you are definitely going to have a smaller connection base as a selective networker.  Therefore, the best course of action is to make the most of the connections you do have – particularly in the form of recommendations. Since you know all of your connections personally, you’ll easily be able to provide complimentary information on the profiles of some former or present clients, colleagues, partners or supervisors. Assuming these close connections return the favor, you’ll be able to show off several thorough and personal recommendations on your own profile.

Disadvantage: Corresponding only with those who you already know is contradictory to the objective of networking.

How to Overcome: As a selective networker, you may not wish to connect with those who you don’t know, deeming them unnecessary or untrustworthy. However, you can benefit tremendously from talking to other professionals, joining groups, and actively participating in discussions. This will give you the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with others who can potentially become connections.

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