If you have a comfortably large LinkedIn network (any number larger than 143) and don’t require the gung-ho networking of a LION, then you can afford to be a bit more catlike in picking who you connect with. (Cat doesn’t stand for anything but is just a more careful way of growing your LinkedIn network.)
Strictly speaking, LinkedIn prefers that you connect with only people you know. However, unless you’re networking like crazy and meeting hundreds of new people a week in person, this literal interpretation can get in the way. Another way to connect is to find new people online one-by-one rather than in bulk. And find those people in strategic places, such as from a group or alumni network.
Here are some steps you can take to strategically (and tactfully) grow your network:
Click on the Advanced link at the top of your LinkedIn profile to access the Advanced People Search page.
Type in one of your keywords in the Keywords field or simply use your industry, such as advertising or accounting.
Click on the Search button.
Deselect 1st degree and group in the relationship settings, leaving behind the 2nd and 3rd degree filter
Your search results list new people in your strategic area who may be open to connecting with you. Take your time and look at each profile. If you’ve joined any of the open networking groups, you may already be members of the same group and can invite them without using an e-mail address.
Generally, if people include their e-mail address in their profile, it means they’re open to networking with you.