Your LinkedIn network can make a big difference for your career path. Yes, the bigger your network, the better. However, I must emphasize the importance of building a quality network of trusted colleagues and using LinkedIn to nurture those relationships.
It’s easy to get a massive network, but it takes work to get a quality network. All that work is absolutely worth it. Think strategically about the connections you want. Who are you remotely connected to?
- Alumni from a previous company, branch of service, or philanthropic organization
- Geographical area(s) you used to live or work
- Similar skill sets such as technology, supply chain, etc.
When reaching out to people to request connections, spend a few minutes to look at their profile and find a genuine connection to mention in your connection request message. Most people don’t want spam, so don’t come across like a spammer. Be you, and be genuine.
Once you’ve exhausted this group, think about ancillary contacts to your growing network. What industries are related to your strongest skill sets? Use the search function and dedicate 20 minutes each day to sending 10 connection requests. They won’t all be accepted, but your network will steadily grow.
Always connect with someone you meet or interview with. If you get a business card (yes, these still exist), connect with that person. Seek recruiters and connect with them. Most recruiters will gladly accept an invite.
Once you have a core network, seek Recommendations from your known contacts.
These are more powerful than Skills Endorsements because they are written and from close contacts (they can only be given to you by your first connections).
If you see something you can add value to, post it. I like to post articles I find intriguing and add a few comments. Usually, it turns into a conversation. Keep it professional – do not promote political platforms or statements.
It’s an age-old fact: people do business with people they know, like and trust. They also do business based on referrals from those that they know, like and trust.
You probably have seen this in the offline world many times. How many times have you heard or said, “I know a guy. Let me think who it is.”? If you have a large LinkedIn network, finding them and referring is that much easier.
Engage your network. Ask for help if you need it. Always help others.
You will be pleasantly surprised at the power of this tool in your career arsenal.
So…. How wide should your LinkedIn network be?
As wide as possible.
Think broadly. Seek diversity.
Quality trumps quantity every day.
Bill Douglas, aka “ResilienceGuy” is a lifetime entrepreneur. He’s an author and a business coach, and currently the CEO of OpticWise, a leading proptech company serving multitenant commercial real estate.
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