Networking is the key to success!

It is widely accepted that the key to achieving success in landing a job lies within your network of connections. With hundreds of avenues to meet people who can easily guide and aid you through your first job hunt or a quest for the next step in your career, LinkedIn stands out as an invaluable resource.

To help you make the most of LinkedIn and network with beneficial contacts, I’m sharing a few tips for discovering the perfect people, organizations, or even your next job!

Searching for contacts

LinkedIn is the mecca of information. I used to jest with my friends that it was more beneficial to search for your partner at volunteer training on LinkedIn rather than Facebook because you’d find exponentially more data! A bio isn’t just a label of someone’s title; it sheds light on the specific duties they perform and proves that there is more behind the job role. After all, who actually knows what an “Analyst” or “Office Ninja” does? With a comprehensive biography, we can see beyond traditional job titles to get to know individuals better – both inside and outside of work. You can get a good indication of how much time someone spends on LinkedIn – and, thusly, their likelihood of responding to you – by noticing the frequency with that they update their profile as well as the effort dedicated to creating it in the first place. When I wasn’t sure which career path to take, I used the website to explore people’s jobs and experiences. It was a great way for me to determine what piqued my interest or might not be the best fit for me.

Making the connection

When I wanted to connect with someone, Linkedin made it easy for me to find out how we were connected. It increased my success rate since people responded favorably when they realized our link was through a past boss or relative of mine. Taking advantage of the mutual connection is a great way to initiate conversations. For example, you could start off by saying: “I saw that you know Jenny, who was my boss at my internship!” this is an excellent way to get the attention of your audience and elicit positive responses.

When first messaging, be direct and honest that you are interested in their work and would like to learn more. Consider why their profile caught your attention the most out of all LinkedIn profiles, as well as why you chose them over the numerous other people on this website. Request a 15-minute informational phone call with them to thoroughly discuss it further.

If you would prefer to get connected through an acquaintance first, LinkedIn provides a simple way for you to ask your friend for an introduction. It’s the perfect opportunity to reach out and reconnect with someone that you haven’t talked to in a while by saying, “I’m looking to change industries and saw that you work in sustainable energy. Would you be willing to introduce me to your friend Lila, who works at one of the companies I’m interested in working for?”

Nailing an informational interview

If somebody is gracious enough to spend time with you, then do not take it for granted. Show that person respect and value their time as if it were your own. Before you pick up the phone, be sure to plan out your questions for maximum clarity and efficiency. To ensure you’re asking informed questions, invest some time into doing your research ahead of time. Genuinely pay attention to what they are saying and avoid any distractions such as scrolling through Facebook while you’re on the call. Make sure to carve out a few minutes in the conversation, at an opportune moment, and discuss your personal experiences. Once you’ve concluded your conversation, ensure that they remember who was on the call and make sure to ask for their opinion! Requesting advice helps build strong relationships with both potential and current customers. Even something as basic as, “What advice would you give yourself when you were graduating from college?” can work.

The cardinal rule when it comes to informational interviews is that you should never ask for a job during the call. Instead, focus on collecting information and use your follow-up as an opportunity.

Following up

After you hang up, follow through with a thank-you email. This will help ensure that the person remembers you; for extra points, send them a handwritten card! If you happen to be on campus and your recipient is an alumnus of the college, take a trip to the bookstore for an extra special touch. Pick up a postcard as a token of appreciation that they are sure to appreciate! If you aspire to be like this individual and are looking for professional guidance, maintaining a relationship with them is critical. Staying in communication by sharing articles or news that would interest them can help foster the connection. Have you heard of the amazing new tool, Newsle? Linking your LinkedIn account to it will alert you whenever one of your contacts is featured in a news article. This convenient service can keep you up-to-date on what’s happening with all those connected to you!

Taking that first step to reach out and build a connection on LinkedIn can be intimidating, but the rewards are well worth it. Take a chance and put your confidence into action by following these steps – you will soon find yourself with an invaluable network of connections!

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