Many people have gotten new career opportunities as a result of networking. And you can too, whether you have a degree or not.
Sixty percent of people surveyed by the Canadian Networking Survey reported that networking helped them find new clients, referrals or job opportunities. Nowadays you no longer have to wait for networking events because there are many platforms online that allow you to network in the comfort of your home.
One such platform is LinkedIn. It is the most important social network when it comes to advancing your career since it is designed for career and business professionals. It has 310 million active users monthly and 766 million total users. This is one of the best portals for job searching. They get 55 job applications submitted every second.
Here are some key things that you need to do that will help you have a successful networking journey on LinkedIn.
Select a Niche
One thing you will need to understand before you create your profile is that there are all kinds of potential careers you can be working towards. Here are a few things you can do to narrow down your options.
- Assess yourself - List out the top skills you have. Once you do this you’ll have a general idea where your strength and interests lie.
- Career paths - Make a list of careers according to your interests and narrow down your options. It’s useful to have a long list of potential careers to choose from but make sure to be targeted and not all over the place.
- Goal Setting - Now narrow down your career paths and create a list of achievable goals with dates if possible.
It may sound like a daunting task but this is one of the most important parts of the whole networking process.
Complete your profile!
LinkedIn makes it easy for you to create a complete profile and their suggestions are pretty good. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Upload a professional Photo (don’t upload a selfie in the bathroom)
- Add your industry and location
- Add at least 5 skills or more
- Turn ON “Let recruiters know you’re open”
- Add your latest contact information
LinkedIn Banner and Headline
The next step is the LinkedIn Banner. It is one of the most important pieces of real estate on your profile. It takes up a decent amount of space and it’s one of the first things people see when viewing your profile. People barely use this feature and it’s a great way to set yourself apart. A profile with graphics will leave a good impression. You can create a personalized banner on Canva or another similar software.
After this you will need to work on your headline. This is the first thing people will see when you post or comment somewhere. It’s also a really important field for the LinkedIn search algorithm.
LinkedIn Profile Summary
The next big step is to make sure you have a good summary.
Your Summary is the text box at the top of your profile, just below your photo. Here are some things you have to keep in mind when you write your description.
- Everything you write here matters but the first thing you write should be very impactful. You’d want to capture the reader's interest.
- To improve your search rankings, do some research on the top keywords in your field and include them. If you work in marketing, make sure you have that in your profile.
- Try and avoid using complex words and write as if you are telling your story.
- Most people on LinkedIn will skim your summary, so help them by breaking up the text. Shorter paragraphs are better.
Keep these things in mind when writing your summary and you’ll end up with a good summary.
Make Relevant Connections
There is a high probability that in the very initial stages you'll make too many connections. Without the right connections your whole process may get messed up. So here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Make sure you send invites to people relevant to your niche and your core values. This doesn’t mean that you’ll ONLY connect with people relevant to your niche though. It’s also good to connect with those who share the same values as you do.
- You will improve the acceptance rate by personalizing all your requests. Read their profile and show that you read it by referencing something that resonated with you. Or take a look at their recent posts or articles and comment on something you appreciated. Or, let curiosity lead the way and ask a question about said article or post.
- Try and connect with business leaders in your field. These leaders share content and will help you keep up with the trends.
- Approach recruiters in your field and personally connect with them.
Skills, Endorsements, and Recommendations
List out your skills on your profile. It’s a great way to showcase your abilities to your connections. Once you add a skill to your profile, get some endorsements from your profile. This increases your chances to be discovered for opportunities in your field.
LinkedIn notifies you whenever someone views your profile, endorses a skill, etc. Keep track of these and don’t forget to do these for others!.
Engaging on the Platform
Understand that LinkedIn is all about networking with your connections. Below are some tips on how to increase your engagement and visibility on the platform.
1. Keep it simple stupid!
Images and visuals, help and make a post more engaging. Even though video posts may generate more likes and comments, text posts still remain one the most engaging types of posts.
2. It’s not a one-way street
Social media right now is a tool to reach out to the masses with our content. People post content regularly, but most often don't engage with the comments on the post. Engage! That’s the best way to truly connect with people. Friendships start with engagement.
3. Be Consistent
LinkedIn’s algorithm favors those who post frequently. The more times you post, the more likely you are going to be seen. Don’t overdo it though.
4. Engage with others
Liking and commenting on other posts will boost your own engagement and increase your visibility. People will reciprocate.
Other than posts, you can also write articles. These are called publisher posts. They might not have the same engagement as that of regular posts on the feed but you will get a higher quality audience viewing it. You are more likely to have a decision-maker look at your article. People will have to click on the link to your long-form post for it to count as engagement. While your numbers might be low you can count on the few who do show interest.
One of the advantages of a publisher post is that you can expect a re-share on it if you have good content. A reshare is the best form of compliment you can receive. If this happens, be sure to comment on the shared post and thank the person that shared it.
LinkedIn makes it easy to find Groups that are relevant to your niche. For every group found in your search, you can view who in your network is in those groups. Joining such groups can help you build the connections you’ve made on LinkedIn.
Once you join a group, go through the entire feed and familiarize yourself with the content people are sharing and the types of questions being asked. Here are few things to keep in mind while interacting in your groups.
- Let people know your skills by answering questions others have asked.
- Share any article or blog posts you’ve found.
- Once you have started interacting with someone in the group and built a connection, send them an invitation to connect.
- Make sure you don’t join too many unwanted groups as the limit of groups you can be in at a time is 100.
Sometimes there will be invitations to join events. Make time to attend these as they will help you build more relevant connections. You can also create your own event and invite those in the group to attend.
The most powerful part of joining a group is that you can message anyone in the group without using an inmail credit.
Working your way around job postings
Here are some ways you can look for jobs on LinkedIn
1. Job Postings - You have the option to search for jobs posted by all companies based on your skills. Most companies will accept your profile as a resume.
2. Reaching out to people who work at the company
3. You can actively reach out to job posters with personalized messages. You’ll have a better chance this way compared to simply applying to the postings. Sending a personalized video message will increase your chances.
4. Sometimes a company won’t post a job but will still be looking to hire. This is one of the most important reasons to make industry connections. It makes these opportunities more readily available to you.
After following through with all of the things listed above, you will set yourself apart and drive engagement to your profile.
All of the content in this article is based on successful networkers on the platform. The founder of NoDegree, Jonaed Iqbal, being one of them. He has gained 25,000+ organic followers using the strategies above.
Good luck on your LinkedIn journey!
Images left to right: Bongkarngraphic via Canva, Metamorworks via Canva, Hoozone via Canva