With over 400 million members, LinkedIn is the biggest social media platform for professionals, and as such it would be crazy not to be an active part of that. In this article, I have included a few tips to help you along with making the most of it!
LinkedIn is an invaluable tool for me, not only in my role as a recruiter, but also before that when I was conducting research for a career move, and to help with reaching out to professionals in various industries where I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to connect before.
1. Build your Network
After creating a great, content rich profile (see here for advice) the next step to LinkedIn is growing your network.
As a recruiter, I find it important to connect with a range of people on LinkedIn, from C Level Executives to Sales Reps from SMES. Not only does this diversify my network but also gives me a full picture of the sector I specialise in from the bottom up.
As a ‘normal’ (recruiters aren’t normal) user, or potentially as a job seeker, you might build your network up with colleagues (past and present), potentially thought leaders in your industry, a recruiter or two, and relevant industry contacts that could offer advice on your current project or even pass on more information about a role they have heard about on the grapevine.
My biggest tip when building your network is the same as when interacting with anyone new! Be polite, tailored, and useful. LinkedIn prepopulates invitation fields with a stock ‘I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.’ Whilst this is fine, it’s not personal and it doesn’t give any context as to why you want to connect. Use this as an opportunity to introduce yourself, state why you would like to connect, or instigate a call to action if you already know the person – a snappy introduction is always useful!
2. Get Involved
So, you’re making connections and now your news feed is populating with content from your network. Engage with this!
A social network is a two-way street, so as well as posting your own content, be sure to like and share others’ as they will appreciate it and hopefully reciprocate. This should increase your engagement with your followers, and strengthen your credibility within your network.
Join groups! Groups are a great part of LinkedIn giving you direct interaction with thousands of people who may not be in your immediate network that you can interact and discuss with, who will have a similar product focus, or who work in your field. They’re straightforward to find, and usually quick to join.
3. Approach your network
When reaching out to your network, don’t be afraid. Often if your connection request has been accepted that means the person is open to talk, but be friendly, an acceptance does not mean that someone necessarily wants to be sold to.
In terms of actually speaking to people, the two main messaging options available to you are: ‘Send a message’ which you can use to contact existing connections, and InMails. InMails can be used to message people outside of your existing network, which means that they can be an excellent networking tool.
Use InMails wisely though! As I mentioned at the top of the article, there are 400m users on LinkedIn, don’t be that person that pitches multiple times over multiple messages. A good rule of thumb is usually – would I like to receive this message? If not, don’t send it!
But who can I get in touch with?
Anyone! Reach out to the person that wrote the interesting article you read the other day, or who shared yours. Does one of your connections work for a company you admire? If so, tell them you’d like to learn more about it! Maybe you want to put some feelers out to a recruiter to see what the job market looks like? Feel free – we’re always happy to speak with great candidates.
Keep observing the golden rules though - always be polite, friendly, and tailor your messages. People appreciate it, and are more responsive, when you have taken the time to do your research.
4. ‘Open to new opportunities’
One of newest features on LinkedIn is ‘Open to new opportunities’ which you may have seen in your news feed recently.
Here’s a more detailed walkthrough on this from LinkedIn.
Enabling this feature is a handy way to make the most of your network, and to let prospective head hunters know that you’re interested in a new role. As we know, there are quite a few recruiters on LinkedIn, and you’ve probably received several messages about roles that may or may not have had any relevance to your specialist field.
With this feature, you can signal to recruiters/HR teams that you could be interested in a move, along with specifics about the types of role and locations that work for you. From there, in theory, the people that reach out to you will be doing so with relevant vacancies.
5. Further tips
Though not strictly a 5th tip directly from me I thought it would be good to share a couple of articles I’ve found that focus on making the most of your network, well worth a read if you are looking to improve further.
If you have any advice to add to this article, please let me know! You can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and don’t forget to follow Charlton Morris for the latest industry updates and vacancies across the Life Science, Medical Device and Energy sectors.