As a professional career coach, I make an effort to be active and stay connected on LinkedIn. I regularly advise my clients on how to create effective LinkedIn profiles. I also teach them on how to use LinkedIn to gain quality connections.
There are a number of things LinkedIn users frequently do that reduces their effectiveness. One very common mistake is not customizing connection requests. I am continually amazed at the number of form requests I get to connect, from people I do not know. This is a serious LinkedIn rookie mistake. One that dramatically decreases the likelihood of me (or anyone else) accepting your connection request.
Quality vs. Quantity
Unlike Instagram, the primary goal on LinkedIn is not to amass a high quantity of connections. Rather it is to establish quality connections. Knowing how to network, both online and in person, is an essential tool for any job search. One of the most effective ways to create quality connections, provided you use it properly, is to leverage LinkedIn’s alumni tool. It gives you access to all your college alumni, sorted by location, field, major, among others.
Making the Request – the Right Way
If you are going to reach out to someone on LinkedIn, please do it the right way. Always craft a short, customized note to accompany your request, even if you know the recipient and especially if you do not. Let them know why you are interested in connecting. Also indicate what you hope to gain, and offer, in return for a possible connection. Do this and you’ll dramatically increase the number of your quality connections.
A Strong Profile
Next, to leverage LinkedIn effectively, you also will need a strong profile (All Star status). Without a strong profile, even the best crafted connection request will fall short. According to the Muse, professionals with an All Star status profile are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.
I am confounded when I see profiles with no headshot or cover photo. Having a professional-looking headshot (e.g. no photos in obvious wedding guest attire) is critical. Why? Profiles with photos are 21 times more likely to be viewed and 9 times more likely to get contact requests. But if you look like you just finished giving the wedding toast, skip the photo until you can post a professional one.
To summarize, to gain more quality connections:
- First, make sure your profile is polished and you have a quality headshot and cover photo.
- Next, leverage the alumni tool.
- Then craft a customized connection request.
- Finally, send a short thank you message to your new connections.
Follow these tips and you’ll soon be on your way to adding quality connections. Need help creating or strengthening your LinkedIn profile? Contact me to find out how I can help you get your profile to All Star status in no time.