Challenge 4 – Get Connected
LinkedIn is a great place to network. If you’re wondering how to do that, this challenge will help.
Company profiles provide a wealth of information to the job seeker. Besides in-depth information about the company provided by the Insights feature, companies post job openings on LinkedIn and provide recent updates on company happenings. Company profiles also display how you’re connected at the company, easily identifying your first and second-degree connections.
Another reason to follow companies – when you see someone leave a company you want to join, it’s the perfect opportunity to reach out to their HR department.
Joining groups maximizes your opportunity to connect with people on LinkedIn. Consider joining groups that allow you to engage with people in your target industry or connect with people who have similar interests. Of course, it also makes sense to join alumni groups.
Currently, LinkedIn allows members to join up to 50 groups. Join groups wisely and interact within groups on a consistent basis. This doesn’t mean you have to log-in to LinkedIn every day and respond to posts but interacting with group members and posting your own relative content can get you noticed.
Hopefully you’ve worked hard at perfecting your LinkedIn profile and now you are ready to network – but how?
Start by adding current and past coworkers, family and friends. Yes, that’s right – family and friends. These connections build your network, making it easier to connect with other people you many not know in the future.
People you don’t know? Yes. This is where LinkedIn starts to pay off.
By using LinkedIn’s “Advanced People Search” function, you can identify potential connections that can provide valuable information to assist you in your job search. The key is to connect with people at your target companies who you have something in common with (your Alma Mater, a group, another connection). The next critical step is to personalize your message.
If there is ONE thing you take away from today’s challenge it should be this: NEVER SEND THE DEFAULT MESSAGE.
Despite what LinkedIn might suggest, including a personal note is not optional. Never send the default message. Always personalize your message. You will have much greater success by reaching out to people you may not know but have something in common with when you explain why you want to connect.
So what do you say? Keep it simple. When sending an invitation to connect, LinkedIn limits the message to 250 characters. Be brief. Be clear. Be genuine. Tell them who you are, what you have in common and why you want to connect. To the right, is an example but you should always tailor the message to the individual.
One more thing. Never ask for a job. It is not appropriate to say, “Hey! We both went to Purdue and I want to work at Amazon like you. Can you get me a job?”
Connecting on LinkedIn is just the beginning of building a relationship. Once you are connected, you should take the professional relationship offline and either meet with the connection in person or speak with them on the phone. Conduct an informational interview to learn more about that person’s career path or learn about the company and why you might be a good fit. Then, if your new connection offers to pass on your resume, take the opportunity!