How many connections do I need on LinkedIn?
As many as you’d like!
Some LinkedIn users want to connect with practically everybody. Some prefer to connect only with people they know IRL (In Real Life.) Experts recommend that job seekers have at least 100 connections. When you get more than 500 connections, LinkedIn considers you to be a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker.)
For job search purposes, the more connections you have, the better. You never know who might have that one piece of information you need, or that one friend who can put your resume in front of the hiring manager you want to work for.
However, some connections are more valuable than others. Try to connect with people who do what you think you want to do, or work where you think you want to work. Check out the Alumni feature for your school (go to your school’s LinkedIn page, and click on Alumni in the left column.) There may be old classmates who can be helpful, or other folks who went to your school with valuable insights.
Connections who have worked with you can write Recommendations for you. The Recommendation is a paragraph or two about their experience of working with you: your knowledge, skills, experience, etc. It’s the electronic equivalent of taking your references and everything they’d say about you, and stapling them to your resume. It’s a very powerful part of LinkedIn.
There is an alternative choice between connecting with the whole world and having a small, select circle. Consider accepting all invitations to connect, and then weeding out your connections a few times a year. If you can’t help them and they can’t help you, if they don’t post interesting information, there’s no reason to continue having them in your list.
Start with your current (or recent) co-workers; then branch out to colleagues from past jobs, friends in other companies, folks in your professional association. Consider connecting with some of their connections. You’ll soon have a big enough network to help you find your next job.