Do you know ALL the people you are connected to in LinkedIn? If so, you are one of the slim few. I used to know everyone in my online network but somewhere along the way I became more, shall we say, promiscuous in my approach.

You and I may be connected but that does not mean much anymore. Case in point: I recently got an email from a connection named “Janet.” Apparently, I met her once several years ago. The truth is that I haven’t the foggiest idea who she is.

“Janet” informed me that she recently applied for a position at a well-known company in Fort Collins. She noticed that I had “connections” at the company and wanted to see if I could assist her in landing an interview.

Kudos to “Janet” for her brave networking efforts. Unfortunately, it all seems rather clumsy and ineffective. First, my connections at the particular company are rather distant and vague. Second, since I don’t know “Janet” at all, how could I possibly provide any reasonable reference on her behalf?

Career advisors tell people to use LinkedIn to network their way into positions. I wish they would stop giving this advice without explaining how the whole process works. There are many more steps to take before simply sending off a quick email to a virtual stranger!

JibberJobber (http://www.jibberjobber.com/features.php) might be a good resource. JibberJobber is a career management tool to help professionals manage and organize the information they collect through social networking. For instance, you can rank connections and log notes about the people you know.

In the end, it’s not who you are connected to that is important. It’s who you actually know that matters.