According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking.
The people in your network are very influential when it comes to getting ahead in your career. One of the big benefits of your network is that each person also has their own unique network, forming a web of connections. Each person in your network is doing interesting things and are able to introduce you someone in their network when appropriate.
There are many articles that speak to the “why” your relationships are important to your future. That’s a critical first step – knowing why you do something.
The problem is that most articles lack the “how” and actionable advice. That’s what I’m sharing with you below. This advice is based on Kredible’s research and my personal experience selling, hiring, being hired, and building businesses.
I’m going to focus this post on leveraging LinkedIn for a handful of reasons:
- The community is business oriented
- Your profile is a more-detailed resume that helps build trust
- Research shows how you present yourself on LinkedIn is an important part in helping you get the interview, job, or next step in your career
- You can find and connect with almost anyone in minutes
Step 1: Polish your LinkedIn profile
Do this now! Your LinkedIn profile is how you can start creating curiosity and interest in what you have to offer. If you wait to do this, there’s a high risk you’ll never end up taking the time to fix your LinkedIn profile before you connect with someone. This can also lead to delays reaching out or the person being less likely to accept your request and give you the time of day.
When people view your profile online they are assessing you in a similar manner to how they assess you when they meet you in person. Your LinkedIn profile needs to make them interested in you and curious to see what you’re up to and what you have to say.
Step 2: Customize a personal note to connect
I get 4-5 of these a week, and only most are ineffective. Unless you already know the person well, don’t send the basic message that LinkedIn profiles in the text box. You can see it here:
I’ve discussed that here in LinkedIn Pulse recently and it generated a lot of conversation. Here is some advice for what to say in the personalized connection note:
- Reference their profile in a positive way
- Keep it short
- If you are reaching out to someone you don’t actually know, give them some context about why you want to connect but not the request
- If you know the person and simply haven’t connected on LinkedIn before, don’t ask for anything more than to connect
Step 3: Send them a personalized message
Once you are connected with someone, you can send them a message. Within a day of connecting, then send them a message.
Just like the connection request note, here is some advice for what to put in the message:
- Be clear and concise
- Treat a message like they are giving you time to meet – their attention is valuable
- Keep the message five sentences or less
- Assume they forgot what you put in the connection note – many people will not have even read it
- Personalize the message by referencing their profile in a positive way
Step 4: Follow up
Follow up in short notes. Help them anyway you can. Don’t immediately start with an ask that requires a lot from them. Try not to write a message that contains more than 1 question in it.
If you don’t receive a response to your message, write a shorter message a week later and send it to them. Ask for one simple thing that doesn’t require much commitment on their end.
People are busy and a connection request and message coming out of nowhere feels distracting. Also, the more popular that person is, the more people are asking for their time. You need to find a way to stand out and impress them over the other people asking for their time.
Step 5: Engage with your network
Kredible’s research shows 88% of employers say they think more highly of a candidate that has shared content online. Share articles that have interesting insights on a news article, industry changes, or an event. An easy way to do this is to use the Kredible Share Center. If you really want to engage with your network, consider posting your own original content on LinkedIn Pulse.
Add enough value to them and your network so that if you have to ask for something, you’ve built up enough trust for them to want to help.
Here are some types of content you should share:
- Articles that helps shows you’re interested in and well-read in a subject relevant to your career
- Other business-related articles that your network might find interesting
- Articles you created and posted on your LinkedIn Pulse
Comment on the articles they share and the updates they post. They’ll receive a notification and see what you wrote. If you share something that they shared, tag them and say thanks for showing you the article.
Remember, that almost everyone you want to connect with is going to click on your LinkedIn profile and it will make an impression. Click here to use Kredible’s free Quick Check tool to see how you look online compared to what an ideal online presence is.If that first impression is negative they will likely not connect with you. If they do connect with you and your profile isn’t good, you’re starting off in a hole. Make that first impression positive.
Have other things that have worked well for you? What has not worked for you?