How to Use LinkedIn as a Networking Tool
By Megan Pritchett, Career Advisor
LinkedIn can be an extremely powerful tool for growing your network and meeting new people. Don’t know where to start? Check out these practical ways to use LinkedIn as a networking tool.
Polish your profile
You may wonder why working on your profile is the first thing you should do to network on LinkedIn, but it’s essential. When you click on other profiles in LinkedIn, that person gets a notification that you viewed their profile. So when they’re curious about you and check out your profile, you want to make a good impression! Make sure you have these basics covered: professional photo, customized headline, a filled out summary/about section, and that all experiences and education is up to date.
Connect After Meeting Someone New
Once your profile is up to date, get in the habit of connecting with new people after you meet them. This could be something small, like a work meeting, or a larger like a conference or networking event. Within 24 hours of meeting someone for the first time, get in the habit of finding them on LinkedIn and adding a note with your connection request. Mention how you met them and some version of “let’s stay connected.” You never know how “random” people you meet in your day to day life can play a role in your future career success.
Connect with Others One Step Up
When you’re identifying people on LinkedIn that you’re interested in learning from, don’t only set your sights on the CEOs and top organizational leaders. Identify your current professional level (for example, entry level associate) and identify what role is one (or two) steps up from your current role. By targeting these people to connect with, you can more clearly ask questions that will help get you to the next stage in your own career.
Showcase Your Unique Perspective and Projects
Regardless of where you are in your career journey, you have a unique story and perspective to share. LinkedIn is a great place to share these insights with others in your professional network, even if you doubt how much others will care. Share a post about a recent class project or write a more in-depth article about your experience as a graduate student or what it’s like to change careers. Chances are that someone out there will be interested in your perspective and want to engage with you.
Increase Your Visibility By Creating and Engaging
When you create content on LinkedIn (posts and articles) and other people engage with it (likes and comments), your content is then more likely to be shared with people in your second-degree network. The more you engage and create on LinkedIn, the more likely that other people will become aware of your profile and want to connect. This is especially helpful if you’re hoping to catch the eye of a recruiter on LinkedIn! If you never log on and engage, people may not want to contact you out of concern that you may not be engaged or responsive.
Megan Pritchett is a career advisor at the University of Denver through the Career and Professional Development Office. Students can make an appointment to meet one-on-one with Megan by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 303-871-2150.
Great tips as always, Megan. Thanks for sharing this.