If you want to make LinkedIn work for you, you need a strategy for who you ask to join your network. What you don’t want is to have a network that is very narrowly focused.
Here’s a strategy you should consider.
- Begin connecting with those you know very well (classmates, family, friends). You may need to encourage those individuals to join LinkedIn also. That way you can build a solid set of connections right from the beginning.
- Next find someone who is a “Connector”. A Connector will have a tremendous number of connections (e.g. typically in the hundreds). You can see these connections on the person’s profile. A Connector could be a professor, a professional with a lot of experience, or anyone whose job it is to reach out to others. Ask that person to join your network.
- Join special interest groups. These could be from your academic program, an alumni group, a professional society, or a special interest group. These groups can help you expand your network. See the Topic: Finding LinkedIn Groups to Join).
- Whenever you meet someone, ask if he/she is on LinkedIn. You should continually look for opportunities to expand on your connections.
- Start to connect to those who you don’t know directly, but with whom you have a mutual acquaintance. See the Topics: Finding Possible Connections 1 and Finding Possible Connections 2.
- Monitor your email because you should begin to receive LinkedIn requests from others. You will want to review the profiles of these persons and accept the invitation to connect when the connection seems advantageous to you.
Making the best use of LinkedIn requires an active strategy if you are to make the most use of it..