LinkedIn may be the best thing to happen to employers and job seekers since the dawn of time… but how well is it working for you? How many of your connections are turning into mutually beneficial relationships? Job leads? Job interviews?
If you answered “not enough!” to any of those questions, I think I know the answer — and the reason why LinkedIn might be falling short of your expectations:
You do not have enough of the right connections! For LinkedIn to really help, you must have a specific strategy to proactively connect with the right people. This means going beyond those people everyone typically connects with on LinkedIn such as:
- People who invite you to join their network
- Individuals you’ve “met” in the traditional sense of the word
- Fellow employees at your current or prior employers
- Classmates, Neighbors and Contacts from other networks
Yes, these people are an important part of your network… but if they could help your job search, they would outside of LinkedIn! They would come to you at work, the next networking event and say, “Hey, I just heard about a job perfect for you…”
If you want to markedly improve your chances of finding work through LinkedIn, you must do more than connect with people you already know!
Here are five simple steps you can take to find and connect with more of the right people:
Target Those Who Know (And Would Recommend) Your Work
Find several people in your first-level network who are in each of the following categories:
- Current or past customers
- People who at some point influence your customers’ decisions when they’re buying your products or services
- People who have recommended you to customers in the past
- People who are industry and association leaders in your customers’ industry
- People who are currently buying from your competitors
Review the Profiles of Everyone in Those Categories
Look for similarities within the category. Depending on your career goals, the industry in which you work and your level of experience, this could be things like:
- Keywords and Titles
- Membership in LinkedIn groups
- Associations to which they belong
- Geographic location
- Schools attended
- Past employment
- Soft Skills
Use The Similarities You Find… to Find More People Like That
Use these similarities as your search criteria when you use LinkedIn’s advanced search function.
1. Click Advanced next to the large white search box on your top toolbar
2. On the top left, choose ‘People’ from the list of search options
3. Leave all the boxes checked in the Relationship criteria list, but also be sure to ‘click 3rd + Everyone Else’
4. Enter appropriate titles in the ‘Title’ box, then select ‘Current’ in the following box
5. If appropriate, enter target employers in the ‘Company’ box, then select ‘Current’
6. Enter the postal code for where you want to work; for example, ff you are looking for work close to home, select a range of 50 miles from your home zip code
7. Click the blue Search button
For more specifics regarding the Advanced search funtion, read “Create a Targeted Prospect List on LinkedIn in Five Minutes or Less.”
Using this method, you will find the right connections on LinkedIn!
The only thing left to do: connect. As always use a customized, Five-Star LinkedIn Connection Request. This is critical. Don’t use your mobile device or any automatic connection button on LinkedIn, because it will probably automatically send the standard invitation.
Rinse and Repeat
For best results, repeat these steps frequently.
A good rule of thumb would be quarterly or whenever something changes in your product and service mix or in your industry or market.
Follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to growing your network not only in quantity but in quality as well.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Power Formula.
About the Author: Wayne Breitbarth is the CEO of Power Formula LLC. He is an experienced businessman, speaker, and author who has shared his passion for social media with more than 40,000 business professionals through private business consulting and dynamic presentations to local and national audiences, including Inc. Magazine, the American Marketing Association, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Wayne is the author of the best-selling book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success Connect with Wayne on Twitter.