Has COVID put a halt on your networking over the past 6 months? The pause of social gatherings has made it difficult to meet new people and catch back up with others. However, this problem has made LinkedIn more important than ever. With over 500+ million users worldwide users, LinkedIn is the perfect tool to restart your networking efforts virtually! Whether you are wanting to connect with someone at your dream company or simply learn from industry leaders, follow these tips to maximize the value from your connections.
You are scrolling down your LinkedIn feed and come across someone that works at your dream company. You visit their profile and now what? Most people make the mistake of going straight into sending an invite and hope for a response. Instead, spend a few minutes browsing through their profile to learn more about their past experiences, schools attended, skills, etc. Spending 5 minutes scrolling through someone’s LinkedIn profile can teach more about that person’s career than an hour-long conversation might. Take advantage of this information by using it to find similarities and potential conversation starters. This will make you better prepared for sending the invitation.
Have you ever walked up to a random person and introduced yourself by saying “I would like to add you to my professional network”? Of course not! So why would you use the same strategy on LinkedIn? Never use the default LinkedIn invitation and instead use the information gathered from research to make a customized invitation. This could include pointing out a school that you both attended or company that you both worked for. Opening with these similarities will increase the chances of a successful request and lay the foundation for a conversation.
This is the most important skill in all of networking. It is even more important when virtually connecting with someone new. Even though it might be your goal to receive help from them (ex: asking for a recommendation for a job opening at their company), you also need to attempt to provide value yourself. This could include referring possible connections for them or sharing relevant industry knowledge. Not how you can provide value? Just ask and listen! Simply asking might go a long way into building a successful long-term relationship.
Keep the Conversation Going
Eventually, the conversation will come close to an end. This is not a bad thing, but you need to make sure you are set up to continue the conversation at a later time. You can do this by setting up a coffee meeting (if your state’s COVID restrictions allow you) or giving yourself a small task to do and report back later. Also be sure to share your personal contact information, such as phone number and email, to allow communication outside of LinkedIn. This will allow much easier communication in the future.
If you are wanting further help further LinkedIn networking help keep following this blog or contact Em and Pen for individual consulting!