How to Network on LinkedIn
Business professionals who avoid the LinkedIn social networking platform render themselves conspicuous by their absence. But, it’s only beneficial if you know how to use it. So, let’s look at how to network on LinkedIn.
Proactive Job Hunting Methods
Suppose you are a jobseeker looking for marketing jobs. What would be your usual course of action?
It should look something like this:
- Register your resumé with a couple of selected executive search firms.
- Go to the aggregator job boards (like Indeed, SimplyHired, etc.) and search by job title and geographic location to get a selection of advertised openings.
- Attend career education and networking events, like our very own CareerNet offerings.
- Depending on your professional level, you should subscribe to the local business journal periodicals and a trade journal or two.
These proactive job hunting methods are essential. All your smart competitors are doing this and you need to be on top of current industry trends and business sectors.
Networking on LinkedIn
There is little point to engaging on the social media platforms, like Facebook, for job search purposes. Recruiters will not be looking for you there!
So here’s how to network on LinkedIn:
Your Public Profile
Before you start, make sure your public profile is complete and up-to-date, especially your photo. Show them who you actually are, not what you want them to believe.
Who can endorse you? Of course, these need to be business references, not something your ‘professional friend’ cobbled together. Ideally you’ll have a collection of suppliers, clients, peers and managers.
Are You a Blogger?
If you have your own blog, set it to RSS into your LinkedIn profile—provided, of course, it complements the image you’re trying to portray.
Remember, tour profile is your sales platform.
You have no idea who views your page each day and, if you get it wrong, you could be missing out on some great opportunities. You need to visible to people looking to find you as much as you need to be proactively punting yourself.
By getting it right, you really can maximize your exposure on LinkedIn.
Join a LinkedIn Group
One of the most constructive ways to network on LinkedIn (and any other digital space for that matter) is to join relevant groups. If you are a marketer, for example, you would join a marketing group.
This is where your peers, recruiters and potential employers hang out. There are 1000’s of groups on LinkedIn, so choosing the right ones can be a bit trial and error.
Contribute to the Group
Once you’re in the LinkedIn groups, contribute to them! Social media encourages an active sharing culture, so you should be giving more than you receive.
Start a discussion and join in others, offering advice and passing on your knowledge. If you have an interesting news piece, share it.
People soon realize who the good guys are and you will be surprised who starts connecting with you. Play the game right and you will be rewarded by increased awareness and exposure.
LinkedIn offers you the chance to send messages directly to the people with whom you wish to engage.
You already share common ground so with some clever content you can easily break the ice. You can request people to join your network and they will oblige if they see some relevance.
By offering the opportunity to connect with your contacts you will initiate a two-way beneficiary. Again, it’s about being authentic, genuine and transparent.
LinkedIn Search Functions
There are various LinkedIn search functions you can implement to find the people you want. The same process will help you uncover companies in your skills area that would be worth researching.
Before and after you apply for a job (via LinkedIn or not), why not seek some advice from people who are either working there now or who have in the past?
This will help you prepare your application and, where necessary, tailor your cover letter. It will also provide useful knowledge at interview stage.
Make an impact
Don’t forget that the fundamental rule of networking is impact—leaving your contact wanting more.
You need to be as proactive as you are reactive, ensuring your online presentation is as good as it is during the offline meetings LinkedIn will undoubtedly afford you.
Mark James, CPC is the founder and president of Hire Consulting Services (HCS), established in 1999. HCS is a highly customized executive outplacement and career coaching firm for executive-level professionals. Recently published in 2018, Mark is the author of the best-selling book Keys to the C Suite: Unlock the Doors to Executive Career Path Success. He is equipped with over 25 years of experience in Executive Career Management Coaching, Outplacement and Executive Search Consulting. He has been a Certified Partner with Predictive Index® Behavior Assessments since 2016. He focuses on providing a proven and successful strategy and a structured process to fully enable his clients to conduct a professional job search campaign and with the singular goal of securing their next career opportunity in significantly less time it would take without a career coach. Clients gain a new perspective of their marketing value coupled with executing a strategic plan and closing the deal on their new role in their next job.