Networking—the thought of it either sends a chill down your spine or peaks your interest.
Whether you like it or not, networking is a critical part of building your virtual brand and presence. I’d say it is even more important these days because it is much harder to meet new people in the halls at work or at big conferences across the country.
When used properly, LinkedIn is a great platform for connecting with new people and staying connected with old and current classmates or colleagues. Today, I am going to share 10 tips that have helped me use this platform more effectively. You should also check out Top 5 LinkedIn Mistakes.
#10 – Keep your profile (basic details) updated
This one is pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t have a profile photo or updated job title. At the bare minimum, ensure that your profile has the following:
- Recognizable profile photo (within the past 2 years)
- Current job status/title (if you’re unemployed, just state what kind of profession you’re in e.g. “Accounting Professional”)
- Post secondary/academic credentials (e.g. licenses, certifications, degrees)
- Last 5 years of experience (e.g. work, volunteer, extracurriculars)
#9 – Follow companies and organizations that you’re interested in
You can find a lot of company/business news on LinkedIn, which may be helpful when you’re job hunting or looking for projects and opportunities. Start with following the companies that you would be interested in working for (e.g. as an employee) or partnering with (e.g. as an investor or entrepreneur) one day.
#8 – Don’t blindly accept or connect with random people
Although you should be open to meeting new people through LinkedIn, beware of those who connect with you for no reason (aka those who send a connection request without any greeting or indication that they share similar professional interests as you).
Blindly connecting with people who you have no clue about and have no intention of getting to know is going to de-value your network and populate your newsfeed with updates that you don’t care about.
#7 – Personalize your connection requests and invites
If you’re looking to connect with someone you don’t know personally, add a note that states why you want to add them to your network. A generic “I’d like to add you to my network” is not sufficient, so be more detailed. If the other person receives a lot of requests, a personalized note will stand out and give them more reason to accept your request.
For example, “Hi Jeff, I’d like to connect with you because I am interested in learning more about engineering opportunities at ABC Corp. and I saw that you shared an opening on the Support & Services team recently and would love to chat about it!”
‼️ Tip for students and new grads: Always mention that you’re a student, new grad, or early-in-career who is eager to learn. This usually makes others more receptive to your asks!
#6 – Connect with people within 1-2 days of meeting them
If you recently attended an event or workshop, make an effort to connect with the people you met soon after. This way, your invite will be more fresh and top of mind. If you wait too long, both you and the other person may lose interest.
Make sure you mention how you met someone in your invite. Down the road when you have thousands of connections, this simple note is good to have if you ever need to jog your memory on how you originally met someone in your network.
#5 – Show your support for your peers
People welcome positive attention through social media—it’s why we have it in the first place!
If you see a peer’s new job update or personal announcement, show your support by dropping a like or comment. It only takes a second… and is also a great way for you to maintain some level of activity LinkedIn if you’re not the type to post or share your own content.
#4 – Find out who the hiring managers or recruiters are
If you’re job hunting, check out this page to see hiring posts shared directly from managers, recruiters, and team members.
Once you see a job you’re interested in, reach out to the person who shared the post and set up a virtual coffee chat to learn more. If the other person doesn’t have time to chat, ask if you can send them 3-5 questions via email instead.
Creating a strong impression through these interactions can help you bypass the initial stages of the application process and get you a referral into the company.
#3 – Stay in touch during the holidays
Over the years, you might’ve moved on from previous teams and companies and no longer talk to some peers as much as you used to. When the holidays roll around, take the time to drop a quick holiday note. You may feel a bit awkward messaging them out of the blue, but I’ve personally found that my old managers and mentors appreciated the gesture!
#2 – Keep it friendly and professional
Although personal life and professional life can oftentimes overlap, you likely have a different following on LinkedIn than with your other social platforms. Remember that your former, current, and potential bosses will be seeing the posts that you like, share, and comment on—so keep it professional!
This is good to keep in mind when you’re job hunting because recruiters and those performing background checks are sure to scope out your social profiles.
#1 – Share value with your network
When posting or sharing content, think about whether you are adding value to your network. Value can come in different forms including inspiration or motivation, education, or even a laugh at the end of a tough day (as long as it is relevant and appropriate).
Authenticity is also important since LinkedIn can viewed as pretentious at times. If you’re sharing some great news about a new job or promotion, perhaps add some tips or lessons that you learned that helped you reach your new milestone. This can help others who may be looking to do the same, and it can open up doors for new connections!
- Share value with your network
- Keep it friendly and professional
- Stay in touch with others
- Find out who the hiring managers/recruiters are
- Show your support for your peers
- Connect with people within 1-2 days of meeting them
- Personalize your connection invites
- Don’t blindly connect with random people
- Follow companies and organizations that you’re interested in
- Keep your profile (basic details) updated
If you found this helpful, feel free to follow or connect with me on LinkedIn using the tips that you just learned!
Reader Appreciation: This post was written for Ann Tan who requested an extended version of Are You Making These 5 LinkedIn Mistakes?. Thanks for reading and please share more feedback and ideas with me at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂
My personal philosophy is growing 1% everyday through finding inspiration to share with the world.
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