With LinkedIn officially passing the half-billion user mark in 2020, we don’t need more reasons to consider building more meaningful connections and growing our network on the platform. You might choose to network on LinkedIn for job opportunities, business growth, or building your network. No matter the reason, it’s essential to stand out and create a great first impression at the time of networking. Connecting with professionals on LinkedIn shouldn’t be looked at as an activity to increase your contact list but add value to your professional network.
Before accepting an invite, your potential connection skims through your profile, so make sure your profile is well optimised, engaging, and paints the right picture of you as a professional.
According to LinkedIn, 48% of businesses say their high-quality hires come from employee referrals. As a job-seeker, though the end goal of networking is to seek job recommendations, one must build a meaningful relationship before seeking favours. It might take ample time to build trust with a new connection; hence it’s ideal for reaching out to connections in the early stages of your job search.
Colleagues and classmates: reach out to your peers and managers that you currently and formerly worked with. Expand your network by reaching out to classmates from your school and university.
Professionals from your list of target companies: start by reaching out to recruiters, hiring managers, and individuals at the same job level in target companies you aspire to apply. If you're looking to send an invite to someone new and find a mutual connection that can make an introduction, seek one.
Consider recommendations by LinkedIn: In the "my network" feature, LinkedIn suggests professionals under various categories that can add value to your network. Review the list regularly and connect with like-minded professionals
Join relevant LinkedIn groups: Find relevant LinkedIn groups - industry-specific, role-specific, or location-specific to stay updated on various trends and job opportunities. Always make sure to engage with individuals from groups thoughtfully.
Networking tip for remote workers: The Remote Workers on LinkedIn group is a great place to start.
Engage before sending an invite
Warm-up to your connection before reaching out to them by engaging with their content. Like their content, leave thoughtful comments, and share their articles within your network. Try building a personal connection. Stay on top of mind by being active and appreciating their views.
Always consider that you might be connecting with individuals that are extremely busy and might be receiving many connection requests on a given day. The easiest way to differentiate yourself from the rest of the request is by sending them personalised invitations. A brief about who you are and why you are looking to connect with them. Be empathic. If you’ve already engaged with them through their content, highlight areas that caught your attention. If you’re seeking advice, ask them questions that you might not find answers to google or the company website.
Invite them for informational interviews
LinkedIn advises you to connect with your network better through informational interviews. Learn more about their journey and add value to you through the conversation by exchanging your experiences. Invite them for a virtual coffee or an in-person meeting and make sure to prepare for the conversation well in advance. Leverage these conversations and seek recommendations of other professionals that you can reach out to.
Continue to provide value
It’s not only about establishing a connection on LinkedIn but also about maintaining and building on it. Sharing quality information about your field or any common areas of interest with your new connection is an excellent way of building relationships. Keep in mind to always have a mindset of adding value before seeking information or job recommendations.
Bonus tip : By updating your profile and job status regularly, your network will receive updates about you, which will keep you fresh in their minds.
To effectively scale your network and remain valuable in today’s ever-changing economy, strengthen your network by meeting someone new online every week.