Networking is one of the best ways to make a name for yourself in your chosen industry and can prove significantly powerful when it comes to furthering your career. Of course, making relationships with high-powered folks can seem rather daunting and difficult, particularly if you have never done it before. Whilst networking opportunities used to be restricted to those lucky enough to be invited to industry soirées and events, the digital revolution means that virtually anyone with access to a computer can start networking from the comfort of their own home.
By far the most effective platform for professional networking is LinkedIn, which boasts over 575 million users. As well as allowing you to apply for jobs, it can connect you with old colleagues and other people in your sector. If you’re new to LinkedIn and are wondering how best to use it for networking, we’ve put together a few tips to help you out.
Advertise yourself with a stunning profile
One of the first rules of networking is making a memorable first impression. This means that you should carefully craft your personal LinkedIn profile, detailing all of your proudest professional achievements and demonstrating that you are knowledgeable about topics that affect your industry. Try to use relevant keywords that will attract the interest of recruiters and industry professionals, as well as uploading a professional headshot that will prove you are the real deal.
Interact with people at every opportunity
Once you have completed your profile to a high standard, you can start connecting with other users. If you manage to establish over 500 connections with others, you will come across as an important industry figure. Of course, to do this, you will need to make meaningful relationships with people online. When sending connection requests, always remember to send a friendly message introducing yourself and explaining why you are reaching out to them. Try not to send out precisely the same message to hundreds of people as this will seem impersonal and some of the recipients may even know each other! Furthermore, once your requests are accepted by other users, remember to interact with their posts on a regular basis. This will demonstrate interest and commitment to your professional relationship.
Post interesting content
Try not to get into the habit of simply reacting to other users’ content. In order to demonstrate that you are engaged and knowledgeable about your sector, you will need to start uploading interesting content to your own profile. You could start, for example, by sharing an insightful article that you have recently read, demonstrating that you are up-to-date with recent developments in your field. Even better, you could start posting your own regular blog posts detailing what you have been up to recently. Remember to use a friendly and engaging tone to draw in a big following.
Join LinkedIn groups
Try joining groups related to your industry. This will help you to get noticed quickly and will point you towards the most relevant people to make connections with. Within the groups, participate in discussions and help fellow LinkedIn users out by offering your own valuable words of wisdom. Try not to sell yourself too overtly and remember that groups are all about building community.