So, you are trying to figure out how to network on LinkedIn and have realized you need a few tips.
LinkedIn has quickly become one of the most popular platforms to find work.
As such, the vast LinkedIn network holds a lot of potential for job searching.
Whether you are a seasoned LinkedIn user or have just created a profile, figuring out how to network on LinkedIn can be tough.
I have some experience in this area and want to share a few effective LinkedIn tips to help you find more LinkedIn connections.
In this article we will cover the following:
First of all, let's discuss whether LinkedIn is even worth it.
After all, if you are anything like I used to be, you don’t use your LinkedIn account much.
You wonder if it can prove valuable for your life or career.
I remember feeling the same way, so read on for a few helpful LinkedIn tips.
As you can see above, my profile states I have 500+ LinkedIn connections.
In fact, I have over 30,000, but it wasn't always that way.
Several years ago, I had about 100 connections - mostly classmates and professors.
Then I started to look for a job ... and I came to understand the importance of learning how to network on LinkedIn.
My Plan to Increase LinkedIn Connections
One day, I decided to give LinkedIn another try.
I wanted to:
- Grow my network
- Expand my reach beyond immediate friends and classmates
- Connect with a network that could help me find a job
So, I decided to start using LinkedIn to connect with recruiters and hiring managers from all the cities I was open to working in.
I probably sent out 1,000 invitations my first day.
Within one week, over 500 of them clicked "accept" on my invite.
Focus on Profile First
Now, as far as LinkedIn tips go, here's an important one:
Perfect your LinkedIn profile first.
If I hadn't previously spent time creating a top-notch LinkedIn profile, I probably would not have received so many accepted invites.
If your profile is still looking below average, please read 19 Essential LinkedIn Profile Tips for Job Seekers.
Once you have made the necessary changes to your profile, you can start adding some strategic LinkedIn connections.
No matter what level of membership in LinkedIn you have (the free one included), you may use some basic filters.
- Type in whatever kind of person you are looking to add to your network in the search bar at the top of the page.
- For example, if you are looking for a sales position, type in “sales recruiter.”
- Once you hit enter or the little blue magnifying glass, you will notice some basic filters on the left side of the page.
Choose What You Are Targeting
Since we are looking for people, click “people” on the upper left-hand side.
Once you have done this, the next filter you should add is “2nd connections.”
To understand why, let's discuss the difference between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree LinkedIn connections.
Difference between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd LinkedIn connections:
- 1st connections are people that you are currently connected with (friend).
- 2nd connections are people that at least one of your 1st-degree connections have connected with (friend of a friend).
- 3rd connections are people that at least one of your 2nd-degree connections have connected with (friend of a friend of a friend).
You will always have the smallest number of 1st connections and the largest number of 3rd connections.
Focus on 2nd Connections
Compare LinkedIn to Facebook for a moment and you'll understand this aspect of how to network on LinkedIn.
Have you ever received a friend request from someone with absolutely no mutual friends?
If you have no mutual friends, that is usually a red flag that this "friend" request is from a random person you probably don’t know.
LinkedIn networking works the same way.
When you send someone an invite, they are much more likely to accept it if you have some common connections.
This brings us back to why you would want to add the 2nd connections filter.
As far as LinkedIn tips go, there's an important thing to remember.
If you add too many people in a short time frame, and they respond that they do not know you, LinkedIn can put a temporary block on your profile.
- This will mean you cannot add any more connections.
- Avoid 3rd connections, and stick to 2nd, and you will not be as likely to encounter this problem.
- 2nd connections are more likely to accept your invitation to network.
- Fortunately, this block is usually revoked on the first day of each month.
You can also email LinkedIn and let them know you were unaware of this rule. They are understanding and easy to work with.
Target a Specific Location
Once you have added the 2nd connection filter, it’s time to choose the cities you want to work in.
Select as many cities or states as possible where you are open to working.
If the location you are looking for is not immediately visible, you can click the “Add” button and type in just about any location in the world to begin your LinkedIn networking.
Now that your search results are precisely targeted, it’s time to start adding your LinkedIn connections.
Since you spent a lot of time filtering the perfect search, you can quickly add connections.
Go through the list of people and simply click “Connect” for each person with whom you would like to connect.
I recommend adding just about every relevant connection in the beginning.
The option will pop up for you to write a personal note.
Although this takes longer, you might want to take time to do so.
- If you have a mutual friend, you can mention the connection.
- If you met at a workshop or seminar, let them know.
- Otherwise, you can simply send the invite without a note.
Once you start converting 2nd-degree connections into 1st-degree connections, your network will begin to multiply and you can become more selective.
Here's the best part of figuring out how to network on LinkedIn in this way:
- Every person you add brings you closer to those with whom they are connected.
- So, if only one person accepts your invite but they have 500 connections, you now have 500 more 2nd connections to filter through.
- If you connect with 10 people who all have 500 connections, you now have 5,000 additional 2nd connections!
Your network will begin to grow exponentially and you will start to increase your chances of getting discovered for the perfect job.
Are you a "L.I.O.N."?
L.I.O.N. stands for “LinkedIn open networker.”
A L.I.O.N. is someone who will add anyone and accept any network offer.
Those who follow the L.I.O.N philosophy encourage others to send them requests by accepting invites 100% of the time.
I actually recommend avoiding the L.I.O.N. approach.
The more strategic you can be about the people you connect with, the higher-quality connections you will have at both the 2nd- and 3rd-degree levels.
The LinkedIn open networker strategy doesn't really work if you add 100 people from a foreign country that you have absolutely no reason to connect with.
You would only start seeing a bunch of irrelevant 2nd connections pop up in your searches.
Remain strategic in your LinkedIn networking.
Then you will find that your relevant job opportunities increase.
Today, by doing exactly what I've outlined above, I have thousands of connections on LinkedIn.
Each connection was strategically chosen to help expand my career.
This is all without paying a penny for a premium membership.
And let me tell you, learning how to network on LinkedIn has paid off BIG TIME!
Not only do I receive job offers daily, but learning these techniques have helped me excel in the business world.
By adding thousands of strategic connections, I have access to over 2.3 million 2nd connections.
I truly feel that I have connections in just about every industry and every part of the world, thanks to the amazing opportunity that LinkedIn provides.
It’s time to begin your LinkedIn networking!
Feel free to send me an invite referencing this blog.
I would be happy to give you access to my thousands of connections.
If you need some help making sure your profile is top-notch, let us give you a few more LinkedIn tips.