By: Peer Career Coach Aman Agarwal
Networking is an amazing, proven strategy to make connections in your industry that can further your career and these days you no longer have to wait for the next local networking event to do so. With LinkedIn, you can network anytime and anywhere from the convenience of your laptop or mobile phone.
The key to building a powerful LinkedIn network is to choose your connections strategically. Instead of adding anyone and everyone, limiting the number of people you add to your network will ensure you see posts in your feed from people who are truly relevant or of interest to you.
Here are some tips to create a better LinkedIn network and effective ways to use it:
- You’re more experienced than you think: Think broadly about all your experience, including summer jobs, unpaid internships, volunteer work, and student organizations. You never know what might catch someone’s eye.
- Choose a Professional Photo: You’ll want to make a good first impression on anyone who views your profile, and a big part of that is the picture you choose. You should opt for a professional-looking photo rather than a casual shot. You don’t necessarily have to shell out big bucks for a headshot, but care should be taken when choosing the right clothes, background, lighting, etc., for your LinkedIn profile picture.
- Update your status early and often: Networking isn’t just about who you know; it’s about who knows you. Stay on your network’s radar by updating your LinkedIn status regularly – what you’re reading, working on, and more.’
- Request LinkedIn Recommendations: Recommendations are another great way to make your LinkedIn profile stand out. Positive recommendations written by previous employers, clients or colleagues can show a hiring manager what kind of employee you are and what your strengths are. You have the ability to request recommendations from your LinkedIn connections.
- Get personal: As you build your connections, customize your requests with a friendly note and, if necessary, a reminder of where you met, who you met through, or what organization you have in common.
- Do your homework: Before an informational interview, a formal interview, or a networking event, use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search and Company Pages to learn about the background and interests of the people you’re meeting.
- How Big Should Your Network Be?: How many people do you need in your LinkedIn network to make it an effective tool for job searching and career networking? The short answer is, it depends. The right connections are more important than the actual number of connections you have. Ideally, you want connections that are relevant to your line of work, that can potentially lead you to a job opportunity, or can provide valuable advice.
- Create Engaging Content Especially for LinkedIn: Just as with other social networks, you can post simple text updates, images, and links to other sites, and you can share posts from other users. But make sure that your post is useful, informative and relevant to your professional connections. And you may want to brush up your writing skills !