Completing the first three challenges should provide you with a solid LinkedIn profile. Now it is time to start reaping the rewards of your hard work!
PLEASE NOTE: If you haven’t customized your headline or written a professional summary, please complete Week 1 and Week 2 before proceeding. It is imperative that your profile is complete to network successfully.
LinkedIn is a great place to network, however, most students create a LinkedIn profile and then do absolutely nothing. Don’t make this mistake! Networking on LinkedIn takes effort but the great thing about effort is it pays off!
Start by adding current and past coworkers, classmates, family and friends. Yes, that’s right – family and friends. These connections build your network, making it easier to connect with other people you may 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 career exploration, career development and job search. The key is to connect with people in your future industry or 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 blog 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.
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!
Set a goal to connect with 3-5 people each week. Set aside time to do this. Identifying appropriate connections and writing a personalized message takes effort and time. Whether you spend 15-20 minutes each night making one connection or prefer to spend an hour or two on the weekend making several connections at once doesn’t matter. Just do it!
Connecting with strangers is the hardest part of networking. You may be surprised how willing people will be to connect with you and offer valuable information related to your future career – particularly if you share common interests. Your LinkedIn Boot Camp Coach has resources to help you write a personalized request to connect. Don’t have a coach? Join the CCO’s LinkedIn Boot Camp now and a coach will be assigned.
You can also stop by the CCO in Young Hall 132 during drop-in hours for help with your LinkedIn profile. Drop-in hours are Monday through Friday from 10am to 4pm.