LinkedIn is the main network that us professional folks use to make contacts with people we think will benefit us. We use LinkedIn to connect with people of influence, we use it to keep up-to-date with what’s happening in our circle, we use it to find people and we use it to advertise ourselves for future collaborations, partnerships, work and business. It’s the world’s largest professional network.
Did you know that one of the first things a recruiter or HR Manager will do before they decide to contact you for an interview is to check out your LinkedIn profile? They’ll not only confirm that the information on your resume matches your profile, but quite often, they’ll be looking to read your recommendations, see what connections you have and groups you belong to. In the corporate world, it really matters what you do on sites like LinkedIn so it makes sense to be ‘real’. And what I mean by ‘real’ is – are you making strategic connections that will benefit you or are you just connecting with anyone to look more connected?
Have you often wondered if all those 500+ connections that some people have are truly genuine? In many cases they are and it has taken years for these professionals to build up their networks but there are still plenty who regularly connect with random people for no reason at all. These people are called the ‘super-takers’. They’re in it just for the numbers. If these people can’t benefit you in any way, then what’s the point? Have you forgotten WIIFM – what’s in it for me?
It’s easy to build a genuine professional network but don’t expect to make 500 connections overnight. LinkedIn groups are a great way to find people who have similar professional interests so join as many relevant ones as you can and comment on discussions within the group.
Pretty soon you’ll start to get noticed and connection requests will start rolling in. Equally important is the way you make your connections with others. Don’t just send off the standard generic request because it’s too impersonal. Send each request with a personal message to show that person you have taken the time to find out more about them. Be genuine and tell them exactly why you want to connect. Don’t be shy. Everyone’s in it to make the right contacts. If you want to make a ‘real’ impression, take the time to pick up the phone and give some of your connections a call. You’ll be surprised at how much that small little gesture will impress someone.
So, keep your circle tight and keep it ‘real’ because developing genuine interactions with people will only bring rewards for you in the future. It’s just good karma.