Link up on LinkedInMany people discover LinkedIn when they begin to look for a job, but it’s a great network to utilize even if you aren’t looking. It’s an excellent space where it is fully possible to meet thought leaders and capitalize on trends. Here are some of our favorite networking-heavy features:
1. The QR Code AreaWhat? Where’s the QR code? In the app, it’s hidden in the search bar to the right side. This feature is awesome for linking up in person, because you can scan another person’s code and avoid those pesky business cards, but it is also excellent for sharing remotely. This could be of use to people with common names who aren’t sure if a new contact will be able to easily locate them on LinkedIn, or just to show that you know the platform inside and out. Interested in a career in human resources? This little trick might set you apart!
2. My (Nearby) NetworkIf you are in the same room, but still want to keep your exchanges handshake-free, consider going to the My Network button in your app, and then clicking the round circle with the person and plus sign icon. This will allow you to activate a Bluetooth signal which will allow others to see you and ultimately connect with you. People love this feature because if you are a faces over names person, it takes the anxiety out of the equation.
Everyone from a passive job seeker to a happily employed professional can enjoy groups on LinkedIn. You name it, there’s definitely an interest group for it. Groups are a perfect place to establish yourself as a knowledgeable leader in your industry. Drop in relevant articles, contribute to conversations, or simply stay up-to-date on what’s trending. Some groups our employees are involved in include Endicott College Networking Group, Endicott College Alumni, and Endicott College – M.S. in Sport Leadership
No matter what feature you use, we recommend avoiding a canned connection message. LinkedIn automatically populates requests with, “Hi (Name), I’d like to join your LinkedIn network.” That’s it. That is not much to go on for the recipient, now is it? What motivation do people have to connect with you? Sure, this kind of blanket message works when you already know a person well, but what if you are trying to connect with someone to earn an internship or look into a career? What if you want to reach out to someone who you admire? Nebulous notes are not a good solution. Take the time and tell the potential connection why they should connect with you.
Not sold? There are entire articles on how to deal with “spam” connection requests.
Some things to consider including in a tailored request include the basic W’s:
- Who you are (introduce yourself)
- What you want (be upfront)
- When you may have met (at a conference or charity event for example)
- Where (follow the when from above)
- Why (tell them your reason for wanting to connect and why the connection may be beneficial)
Network RegularlyMany people end up networking more heavily when they want something. That is not the way to go. People want to feel like they know you. They want to build a relationship with you. They cannot do that if you only pop online with bad news. Maintain your network 365 days a year and watch the magic happen! Are you unsure of how to start?
1. Bring the Online Off-lineThere are plenty of groups online that promote off-line meetups. One is ironically called Meetup. Other times, you could build a relationship with an individual in an online group, and then private message them to connect in person. Take the time to build on shared interests and let it bloom in person later.
2. Contribute to a ConversationIf you feel worried that you have nothing to share, contribute to someone else’s existing conversation. React or comment on an online post that interests you, or simply share it. Sharing is probably the most genuine way to network. It’s an act of pure promotion for someone else. It’s simple, but it makes a big impression.
3. Share ResourcesOne way around the feeling of disingenuous networking is to constantly provide value when you post online or try to connect. For instance, you can find or create relevant resources that your ideal community would appreciate. If you are a marketer, that could mean sharing a social scheduling workflow. If you’re a nursing professional, maybe that means talking about a new clinical procedure that may be helpful to others in your field. The internet is a wealth of information, all you need to do is curate it.
The bottom line is this, success with online or off-line networking is simple. Be genuine. Be consistent. Be helpful. Good luck out there!