What is more important: Content or Size of Network?

July 8th, 2013 | by Jason Alba |

On my JibberJobber blog I wrote about Pete Danielsen’s killer LinkedIn Summary.

Rick commented on the post, saying:

“The summary is great, but the thing that stands out about his profile is the lack of connections. Obviously he’s just getting started with LI and someone else is handling the maintenance of his profile, but 40 connections seems very very low.”

Interesting comment.

What do you think … is that a game changer?  Does it make the Summary (and the rest of the well-written Profile) less meaningful?  Is it harmful?  Should he go out and get bigger numbers?  As an executive, does this have an impact?

Clearly people have a network outside of what their LinkedIn Profile shows.

What do you think – is that 40 hurting him, or is it a non-issue?


  1. 6 Responses to “What is more important: Content or Size of Network?”

  2. By Recruiting Animal on Jul 8, 2013 | Reply

    Linkedin’s official propaganda about the size of your network has always been different from that of the recruiters who are Linkedin’s best customers.

    Linkedin said that your connections should represent your trusted contacts.

    Recruiters knew that the number of contacts you had determined the size of the database you had access to so we always tried to get as many contacts as possible.

    In the old days you were only findable by people within 3 degrees of you and you could only search a group of people within 3 degrees.

    Now that Linkedin keeps shrinking the access the free accounts it’s more important than ever to have as many connections as possible.

    One saving grace for job hunters is that because of the limits of the free accounts, most recruiters have paid accounts which gives them access to the full database.

    So job hunters don’t have to worry so much about being found by recruiters even if they don’t have the power to find many people themselves because their number of contacts is small.

  3. By Jason Alba on Jul 8, 2013 | Reply

    @Animal, thanks you for sharing your thoughts. If you saw someone with only 40 contacts, would that be a show-stopper for you? Would you say “this person isn’t worth my time?” How important is the number of connections when you think you might find the right talent to interview?

  4. By Recruiting Animal on Jul 8, 2013 | Reply

    I never look at how many contacts someone has. It isn’t important to me.

    It doesn’t tell me anything about their professional ability.

    People who claim that recruiters are on the lookout for social media savvy people are full of it – unless the job is in marketing.

    I also know that job hunters do not know how to use Linkedin so they don’t realize that a larger number of connections makes them more findable to people with free accounts.

  5. By Robert Merrill on Jul 8, 2013 | Reply

    Normally, I’d disagree with anything @Animal says out of principle, but he’s right on, here.

    To me (a recruiter), LinkedIn is a living, vibrant resume database which happens to also tell me common connections or what kind of interests they have (if they are in groups). The content is much more important than the connections.

    Knowing someone’s connection-count is a data-point, but often minimally interesting, if even noticed. It’s only “show stopper” if someone has an exceptionally minimal profile AND exceptionally limited connections because I am likely not connected to common connections for a quick reference check and, if they don’t maintain their profile, the chances of them seeing a message from me is smaller. I might still reach out to them anyway, but I’m just as likely to pass as well and not waste an inmail.

    FWIW, Pete Danielsen’s profile looks strong. Great headshot, well-developed profile content, some “groups” connections to give me a little flavor outside of the standard fare. A slight downside to his minimal connections is that he won’t have the same “network effect” of people endorsing him frequently for things… (a visually appealing-albeit-technically-inferior method of judging a candidate’s skills).

  6. By Robert Merrill on Jul 8, 2013 | Reply

    Two more quick thoughts on connection count.

    First: If I am *looking* for reasons to critique a person’s profile (I usually don’t have that much time), I am just as likely to be suspicious about a person with far too few connections (say, 5-25) as I am with too many. For most people (not sales people or recruiters) the 500+ tag starts to look like you are an over-connector and just connect to everyone you possibly can. Neither of those are BAD, just different sides of the same coin.

    Second thought: I am always interested in the “spikes” in updates and new connections to people’s profiles. It becomes readily apparent to me when someone is tiptoeing (or just fully jumped) into a job-search. I’d love to see graphs on network activity (sudden new connections, profile updates, etc) if that were possible. Limit that by companies/industries/geographies, and you could have a powerful precursive indicator to employment trends.

  7. By Nick Corcodilos on Jul 8, 2013 | Reply

    “Rick” reminds me of HR managers who look for key words on a resume because they can’t grasp the bigger picture or read between the lines. They rely on “the stats.” The only reason to worry that someone has no links or not enough links is because you’re nervous about calling them up to check them out. The value of links to the reader lies in what they tell you about the subject. But links on LinkedIn are a poor measure of a person. There are lots of other ways to check out an intriguing person, and lots of lazy LinkedIn surfers… giving those who are willing to do the work a huge edge. I couldn’t care less how many contacts a person has, except when they’re 500+. In that case, I’d bet money they couldn’t give me a detailed reference on every one of their contacts, rendering the links useless.

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