For those looking to land a new job, the value of an effective LinkedIn site could be immeasurable. Several weeks ago we looked at some basic LinkedIn skills that help you establish a very strong site that represents you really well. So this time we’ll look more at how and why LinkedIn is so powerful: networking.
To enable LinkedIn to work for you, your mission starts with Connections, and lots of them. If your LinkedIn site has 200 Connections, you’re really just starting. Set a goal for yourself of 400 Connections and keep building from there.
Having said this, really strive to know all your Contacts so they can work for you. You may be tempted to “Accept” every request to connect, but then when you go to actually work your LinkedIn site, you may spend a lot of time deciphering who you know and who you don’t, who might have valuable insight, and even who some of your contacts are.
So after quickly checking the site of a requesting contact, and not recognizing anything, consider writing back with a quick note saying something like “have we met?” or “remind me again where our paths crossed…” Or simply ignore the request.
Working Your Connections
Now you’re in a full-scale job search. The first thing to consider if you have been part of a downsize or lay off is to send all your contacts a short email saying something like:
“I hope this note finds you well. I’m not sure you’ve heard but I’m actively pursuing a new opportunity in (name your field). I’m developing an updated resume which I can forward to you later. I’d be happy to catch up soon either on the phone or in-person. Let me know if I can do anything for you. Thanks very much.”
Some estimates are that over 80 percent of new jobs are found through networking. Now you’re actually working LinkedIn.
A good job search starts with your list of target companies, regardless of whether these companies have job openings or not. On your LinkedIn bar, click “Interests” and on the drop down menu, “Companies” is an option. Click that, enter the company you are interested in and names will come up.
You’re not finding any direct connections within these companies but you notice a number of 2nd and 3rd connections. Now you’re seeing familiar names. Write to those people with a note like this:
“I see on LinkedIn that you know Joe Smith with QRS Company in which I’m interested. Can you offer any insight on Joe, and maybe introduce me?”
“Get introduced” is an option that does just that.
Some potential responses to you reaching out could be:
- “Sorry I don’t know him.” This is why you want to be selective about your Connections.
- “Sure, I’ll introduce you right now.”
- “Well, I really only know him through Mary Jones, he may not recognize my name.”
- “I know Joe pretty well, I hear his QRS isn’t hiring but he’d be good to network with. Do you want me to introduce you?”
See the power of LinkedIn? These interactions took weeks in the “old days.”
Let’s get back to that target list of companies and that “Interest” tab. Drop it down again and you’ll see “Groups.” Click that and look for Groups in your industry. Join these groups and that gives you access to another group of people. When you come upon a potential connection but you have no one in common, carefully word your inquiry:
“Although we haven’t met, we’re both in the same industry and I’d like to connect…" or “I know most opportunities are found through networking so I’d like to connect with you. Down the road, maybe we’ll be in closer touch…”
If the person responds, take a week and then ask if you can have a few minutes to seek out his/her advice.
And in the meantime, pay attention to those Group messages. Some may announce job openings, others may be looking for advice. Selectively respond periodically.
Share an Update
Under your picture, you’ll see “Share an update.” When you have news, share it, again selectively. For example, “I just returned from the RST industry conference having learned a lot…” Maybe you have been promoted, have added responsibilities or been recognized in your field for an accomplishment. Make it brief and share your update.
Have any of these tips worked for you? Let us know in the comments section!