No one will dispute the fact that LinkedIn is one of the best job search tools on the Internet. But LinkedIn did not start life as purely a job search tool, it started as a networking tool with job search as an afterthought. So if this is your first experience with LinkedIn, or you are now building your network on LinkedIn, follow the 5 basic steps listed below to getting started. The only prerequisite is that you’ve created your basic profile.
- Planning: Plan out your list. Who do you want on the list, how will you source their information? The best place to start is friends, family, former high school/college friends, former and current coworkers. Don’t add everyone unless you think they will be useful. People you don’t like (or who don’t like y.ou) should be excluded. Also keep in mind that your connections can see who you are connected to.
- Start Adding Contacts: Once you’ve created your plan, hover over the “Connections” menu item at the top of the page and select “add connections”. The next page you will see will allow you to import your address book from your email provider.
- Who You Know- Contacts – Once your addresses have been imported, LinkedIn will let you know which of them are already on LinkedIn. You have the option of adding all from your address book (NOT recommended), “deselect” those you do not want to add by selecting “skip this step” and then add the remaining contacts. Each one will receive a notice from LinkedIn informing them that you would like to connect with them.
- Who You Know- Alumni – Hover over the “Connections” menu item at the top of the page again and select “Alumni”. Now add your college or university, the dates you attended. LinkedIn will now help you.
- Who You Don’t Know – Sometimes you will want to add people that you don’t know first hand, but attended the same school, worked at the same company, live in the same town, share the same major (you get the picture). More on that below.
- Invite Contacts or Other LinkedIn Members: You are now ready to send invites to ask those you know (or have a common interest. Here’s how:
- By Name – Use the search bar at the top of LinkedIn and start typing a name (first name followed by second name). If that person is on LinkedIn they will show up. Select the person and select the “Connect” button. That individual will be contacted via email that you’ve made a connection request. Once that person accepts, you will be notified that you are now connected.
- By Company -Type in the name of the company and once you find it hit enter. The next page will show people who work (or worked) at the company. You will then have a bunch of options on the left hand side of the page to further refine your search. LinkedIn will also let you know if you know someone through someone else (will have a “2nd” next to it). Select “Connect” next to those you would like to connect with.
- Advanced Search for Contacts: LinkedIn currently has in excess of 300 Million users, so it can sometimes be difficult to find specific people or people within an industry (or other search filter). LinkedIn has this all worked out:
- Select “Advanced” next to the search bar at the top of the page.
- Use Keywords, names, title, location, etc. to provide additional filters.
- Additional filters are on the right hand side of the screen, but these require a LinkedIn premium account.
- Once you’ve got your search filtered to the desired results, start connecting!
- Cultivate Your Contacts: There are many ways to cultivate you contacts on LinkedIn.
- Respond to “congratulations” notices from LinkedIn (promotions and new jobs)
- Use the “Keep in Touch” menu item under Connections (you can use “congrats” from this page as well)
- Endorse people for their skills (you will get notices on this).
- Keep in touch with your contacts
Once build your network, you can start leveraging it to build your career, look for a new job, make new friends and learn new things.
We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.
Good luck in your search,