Are You Using LinkedIn Correctly?

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I often speak and deliver training on the power of using LinkedIn for your business and career. I always urge audience members to grow and nurture their networks using the social network. Now with over 500 million users in more than 200 countries, it’s plain silly not to tap into LinkedIn. 

When I ask audience members why they are not using LinkedIn, they usually tell me it’s because they already have jobs. The trouble with employment complacency is things change. The average person changes jobs 10 to 15 times during his or her career. This isn’t always by choice; layoffs happen and companies go out of business. If you aren’t actively growing your network, who will you reach out to should this happen to you?

How to use LinkedIn to find a client or a job

This process will be much easier as you grow your network. As a quick refresher, your network on LinkedIn is made up of first, second, and third types of connections. First connections are people you know and who know you. Second are people who you share a connection to via a first connection. And third are people to whom you have no connection. 

Let’s assume you know the company you wish to work with. Search that firm on LinkedIn. Take a look at the employees by reviewing job titles. Who is it you need to connect with that can help you? Note whether you are a first, second or third connection. 

If you are a first connection, review your personal email contact list to see if you have that person’s address to contact them directly. If not, send them a message via LinkedIn. If you are a second connection, determine who your mutual connection is. Email that person to request they provide you with an introduction. Do so using email instead of LinkedIn because they may not check their messages often enough on the social network. 

If the person is a third connection, you will likely have to reach out to them cold. Do your homework before you do. Do a Google search to see if you can learn more about the person. 

Networking is never just about you

I recently met a friend for coffee. He is currently seeking a job with a handful of companies. He shared his wish list with me and I quickly searched my LinkedIn connections. I discovered I was connected to founders and HR managers at several of the companies. I sent a quick email to each person, to ask if I could provide them with an introduction to my friend. I heard back from a couple right away who said, “Yes.” 

This process took me a matter of minutes. I provided my friend with personal introductions to the companies he wanted to work for before my coffee had cooled. You can do this, too.

Building your network should never just be about you. It’s about providing value to the people in your life. Networking is a two-way street and using LinkedIn can substantially up your game. Looking for more LinkedIn tips?

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