LinkedIn…Networking at its Best

Networking on LinkedIn

Many people mistakenly view LinkedIn as only useful for job hunting. They pull it out, much like that big roaster you only use at Thanksgiving, when it’s time to look for a job. They get a new job and poof…the roaster goes back on the shelf in the garage until next time.

However, many clients tell me about their vibrant network, which they maintain and grow on an on-going basis. Because of this, many have told me that they don’t actually have to job search; their incremental networking efforts mean that opportunities come to them.

LinkedIn is the perfect tool for your networking efforts. A centralized place to access and keep in communication with who you know.

Further, LinkedIn is the perfect place to find people you don’t yet know, but want to meet.

LinkedIn tells you to only connect with people you know well. I get this; they are protecting themselves. From your perspective, however, you ABSOLUTELY want to connect with people you don’t yet know. In the next article, I’ll give you suggestions on who to connect with, and how to do so.

LinkedIn can be your best friend, if you know how to make the most of it. Whether you are looking for a new job, seeking customers for your company, or wanting to establish effective partnerships, there is no better tool.

Most people are aware of this, at least in the abstract.

Most people aren’t, however, aware of how to really maximize LinkedIn for networking.

Here are my top six suggestions for networking utilizing LinkedIn:

  1. When you go to a networking event, use the business cards you collect to invite those people to connect with you on LinkedIn.
  2. When you go to a conference and workshop, get a list of the attendees and invite those people to connect. Yes, even if you didn’t actually meet them.
  3. Accept invitations from others unless they give you a compelling reason not to. For example, no picture, very few connections, or from a country that you don’t feel comfortable connecting with. Otherwise, go for it!
  4. Carve out some time every week to dedicate to LinkedIn. Even 30 minutes a week will make a huge difference in your networking efforts. I’m very active on LinkedIn, so I have 30 minutes a day built into my schedule for networking on LinkedIn.
  5. Always customize your invitation to connect. LinkedIn will show you people you may want to connect with; if you click the “connect” button, you don’t get the opportunity to customize Instead, click on the person’s name, which takes you to their profile—you can customize from there.
  6. Once someone connects with you, continue the conversation. In a future article, I’ll give you 10 ideas for ways to cultivate the relationships you’ve begun on LinkedIn.

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