Networking on LinkedIn…Not the Thanksgiving Roaster Pan

Linked in... The Daily Workhorse of your Networking Strategy

In the last article, I talked about how to network utilizing LinkedIn. Today, let’s talk about who you should connect with, and how to do so.

Remember my analogy: LinkedIn shouldn’t be like the roaster pan you only use once a year, then keep it in the garage the rest of the time. Rather, LinkedIn should be a workhorse you utilize every day…regardless of whether or not you’re job seeking.

Who You Connect With Matters

Here are the top five categories of people I encourage you to connect with:

  1. Key employees of your target employers…those companies you would really like to work for.
  2. Key employees of the companies you would really like to do business with.
  3. “Centers of Influence,” those people in your community or profession who are really well connected.
  4. Colleagues—particularly well-known, successful professionals in your field.
  5. Recruiters who specialize in your field.

A word about “target employers:” these are the 25 or so companies you’ve identified as those you are most interested in working for; those companies that are a perfect match with the qualities you’ve identified as being most important to you in an employer. This is an essential element in conducting a targeted, proactive job search…as opposed to the passive job search most people engage in, relying primarily (if not entirely) on job boards.

The Advanced Search Function…Your Best Friend

To find the types of individuals I listed above, utilize the “Advanced” function found at the top of your profile in the black bar. Once you’re in the advanced function, you’ll see a number of criteria you can use to search for people. If you have a Premium account, you have even more criteria available to you. Here are a few suggestions for ways to search for people to connect with:

  1. Click on “2nd connections” and enter a job title under “title.”
  2. Click on “2nd connections” and enter your zip code, or another zip code where you know a lot of people.
  3. Click on “2nd connections” and enter a key word.
  4. Click on “2nd connections” and enter the name of an employer.

Why do I suggest that you click on “2nd connections” every time? These are people who are connected to your connections. You don’t want to include 1st connections, because you’re already connected to these people. If you include 3rd connections—people who know someone who knows someone you’re connected to—your results will be unmanageably large. If you have a free account, you’ll only be able to see the first 200 results, so there’s no need to get several thousand responses back.

In the next article, I’ll give you 10 ideas for ways to keep the conversation going with those to whom you’re connected.

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