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Recently my “Pending Invitations” box has been full of new, and frankly, unknown Connection requests. Being a millennial, that’s awesome right? I mean, think about Facebook or Instagram – when you get a notification saying “so and so has requested to follow you” or “John Doe has sent you a friend request.” Who cares if you know them or not; that’s another potential “like” on a picture! But when it comes to the world of LinkedIn, let’s leave those unknown requests for someone else.

When growing your LinkedIn network, you want to make sure that you are Connecting with people who you know first-hand, or people that are Connected to your 1st level connections. Think about going to dinner with your friends. Obviously you are going to say yes if your friend is attending, right? So you go to dinner with your childhood friend and they bring their roommate from college along. Normal? Absolutely! The three of you have a great time and now you have formed a friendship (Connection) with this new person. After dinner you check your phone and now you have a new friend request. Not creepy.

Now let’s say you go and grab a coffee at your local spot. You order your drink and then 5 minutes later, you have a follower request from someone who said they saw you grab your coffee and heard the barista call your name when you picked up your order. That’s creepy and their reason for the request isn’t clear.

The same applies to LinkedIn. When you think of LinkedIn, you think of it as a business tool rather than a social media site. You’re using your Connections to grow your network, in order to better your business. We all can agree that sometimes our Home Pages are a little overwhelming with constant article shares, job updates, new blog posts…and these are all from people we know! Why exhaust yourself by adding unknown Connections that come with even more shared content? That will only overwhelm you more! Your homepage should be full of only one thing; beneficial and valuable content. How many times can you say that you have seen a shared article pop up that has zero value to you? You’re not alone! Trust me, I have witnessed many articles that then make me go back and say “Wait, who is this person?”

So, before you accept that Connection request from someone that you don’t know, think about it and ask yourself “how is this of value to me” or “how is my network going to benefit from this?” Happy Networking!