When endeavoring to conduct a successful job search, it’s a good idea to be open to the many networking opportunities available. One possibility that many seekers don’t know about is LION, or the LinkedIn Open Networker.
LinkedIn Open Networker (LION) Defined
The LinkedIn Open Networker is a member of the professional social networking site that encourages connections from any member of the site by publicly declaring they are open networkers. In other words, they are open to connecting with anyone who sends an invitation to them.
Under most circumstances, when you sign up for a LinkedIn account, you are placed into a network—according to your location and possibly your school and professional affiliations. This creates limits on the number of people who can become your connection.
But by becoming a LinkedIn Open Networker, you open the possibility of expanding your connection base by quickly increasing the number of people in your network.
The Pros and Cons of LION
With LinkedIn allowing each member to have up to 30,000 connections, becoming a LION presents an opportunity to meet thousands of professionals around the world. But there are both pros and cons to taking this step.
-Broaden your list of contacts from dozens to thousands over a short period of time.
-Expand the number of people you can network with, even if you don’t formally connect with them.
-Increase your chances of acquiring a higher ranking in search results due to more connections.
-Receive hundreds of e-mails from people you don’t know—including spammers.
-Reduce your ability to form meaningful professional relationships with a select few.
-Headhunters can’t determine the value you place on your professional connections or decide which to focus on as they determine who values their relationships with you.
Also, keep in mind that many people sign up as LIONs knowing that connecting with thousands of people will look impressive. But after x number of connections, LinkedIn displays only that you have “500+ connections”, meaning this motive doesn’t always work.
How to Become a LION
If you’re interested in becoming a LION, there are a number of ways to do so. First, you can brand yourself as a LION by typing “I am a LinkedIn Open Networker :: LION. Please connect with me using my e-mail address: JaneDoe@myemailaddress.com”, then stating it in your LinkedIn Summary and Headline.
Another way is to join a LION group within LinkedIn by searching “Lion” or “open networkers” under the Groups option in the site’s search engine.
Remember, once you proclaim yourself as an open networker, you’re opening yourself up to hundreds (or potentially thousands) of networking opportunities. This could be good or bad, of course. So it’s up to you to decide if increasing your networking opportunities in this way will be effective for your job search.