LinkedIn has become more than just a job search platform. People use it for personal branding and professional networking. Although it can be overwhelming to navigate, understanding how to network strategically on LinkedIn can broaden your professional horizons and lead you down a pathway to new opportunities.

Building Your Connections :busts_in_silhouette:

Let’s start with the basics. Building your connections on LinkedIn should be approached strategically. Your connections should comprise diverse backgrounds, including people in your industry and outside your network. Some ways to bulk up your connections are by:

  • Importing your email contacts to LinkedIn
  • Adding suggested connections
  • Following company pages
  • Joining groups related to your industry

Keep in mind the type of connection can also be important. A second-degree, or mutual, connection is someone with whom you share connections. A third-degree connection is someone with whom you do not share a mutual connection.

A screenshot of LinkedIn's 'People you may know' section

Engaging with Connections :speaking_head:

Now that you have connections, engaging regularly with them is key. Engagements include liking, sharing, and commenting on posts. The “Social Selling Index” is a tool LinkedIn provides to measure your ability to establish your professional brand, find the right people, engage with insights, and build relationships. Engagements can help increase your Social Selling Index score.

Additionally, sending direct messages to your connections can help with engagement. Ask questions about their careers, give genuine compliments, and use the opportunity to build a rapport.

A screenshot of LinkedIn's 'Social Selling Index'

Finding a Mentor :chart_with_upwards_trend:

A mentor is someone who can guide you through situations that you may not have experience in and provide advice and feedback on your career aspirations. Finding a mentor on LinkedIn can be challenging, but it is crucial to define what you want from a mentor. Determine the type of mentor you need based on your goals and aspirations.

Look for individuals on LinkedIn that have relevant qualifications and are currently in your desired or similar position. Their experience and knowledge base can help guide you and provide you with insights on career paths or opportunities.

Once you have identified potential mentors, start by connecting with them and engaging in conversations by asking for advice and recommendations.

Two people sitting across each other at a table, with one of them pointing to a piece of paper

Maintaining and Growing Your Network :seedling:

Effective networking is more than just about building connections; it is also important to maintain a healthy and growing network. Ensuring that you are staying relevant with your connections is key. Engage with them on a regular basis by commenting on their posts and direct messages that shows your appreciation for their work.

Additionally, continuously building a relationship with your connections can be done by attending industry-specific events, joining groups or organizations, and other relevant professional development opportunities.

Always remember to keep your network diverse. Don’t be afraid to connect with individuals outside your industry as it can provide you with new perspectives and possible career opportunities.

A tree growing out of a person's hand, symbolizing the growth of one's network

Final Thoughts :thought_balloon:

Networking on LinkedIn can be a career game-changer. By strategically choosing your connections, engaging with them regularly, finding a mentor, and continuously growing your network, you can increase your career prospects. Remember that networking is not a one-time thing - it requires effort and commitment.

In conclusion, take the time to build strong connections and interact with them in a meaningful way. By doing so, you are building a foundation for possible opportunities with individuals that can guide you throughout the course of your career.

A globe with a path leading to a group of people, symbolizing the possibilities of career prospects through networking