Tag Archives: Connecting on LinkedIn

5 types of like-minded people to connect with on LinkedIn

And 3 examples of invites to send.

In a recent LinkedIn Official Blog post, the author suggests you should connect “with people you know and trust.” This seems like sound advice on the surface, but it shouldn’t be followed literally. My suggestion is to take it a step further and connect with like-minded people.

Older job seeker

By connecting with like-minded people, you get outside your comfort zone and create more possibilities for employment. Should you connect with the maximum limit of 30,000? I advise against this, as you never know with whom you’re connecting.

To its credit, the official blog suggest you first follow people to develop a relationship before you invite them to your network (make the ask). When following your desired connections, you should react to their posts and share them. Better yet, comment on their posts as well as share them.

But in order to communicate with LinkedIn members directly (without purchasing Inmails), you’ll have to connect with them.

Who to connect with

Confused? To follow someone on LinkedIn simply means you’ll see in your timeline what they post. Whereas to connect with someone means you’re in their network and can communicate with them directly. Now the question is with whom should you connect.

1. People you worked with

Your colleagues and former bosses are the first tier of your network. Treat them well, as they might be the result of you getting referred to a position—employers accept referrals from people they know and trust. By treating them well, I mean don’t ask them for a favor in your initial invite. (More about the initial invite later in the article.)

Consider the way employers prefer to hire. First, they want to fill a position with their employees, who they know; second, they take referrals from their employees, trusting their employees won’t steer them wrong; third, they ask for referrals from those outside the company; and fourth, they hire recruiters and staffing agencies.

Your job is to become an outside referral. It can be easier if you have a former colleague or boss on your side. It’s important to be able to connect the dots with your former colleagues and who they know in your desired companies. For example, someone you worked with knows the director of engineering at one of your target companies. You could ask for an introduction and a kind word from your former colleague.

2. People you meet

Have you attended networking events or industry conferences and wondered why you didn’t ask for their personal business card? I have. A better move would be asking them if you could connect with them on LinkedIn. Take out your phone, have them do the same, and send the invite immediately. Bingo, you have a connection with someone you’ve already met.

I have connected with people at business networking groups but only when I get a good feeling about them. It feels right. At this time, I would say, “It’s been great talking with you. Would you like to connect with me on LinkedIn.” If they happen to have the LinkedIn app, we can make the transaction on the spot.

You know what comes next. Of course, the follow-up. Make sure you continue the conversation by emailing or calling your new connection and suggesting a coffee date. It might be more convenient for your new connection and you to talk on the phone at a determined time. I prefer talking with new connections when I’m walking, so I’ll suggest a time when I know I’ll be strolling around my neighborhood.

3. People who are outside your personal network

For many people this is an uncomfortable connection to make. I’ve had clients say they don’t want to ask people they don’t know to join their network. My response to this is to tell them they won’t get to know valuable connections until they reach out to them. Think about the potential possibilities you could pass up by NOT connecting with the unknown?

It is important to build your network—to over 500 people—but the people in your network should be approximately 80% like-minded. What I mean be this is they should be in the same or similar occupation and industry, or the same occupation but in a different industry.

For example, an accountant in medical devices would connect with another accountant in medical devices. Not as good a fit—but a fit, nonetheless—would be an accountant in medical devices connecting with an accountant in manufacturing. To further develop their network, they would invite accountant managers and above to your network.

The benefits of creating a network of like-minded people are: first, the content you share or create will resonate with more people in your network. Second, when relationships are strongly molded, you and your connections will provide each other with leads that can result in adding more valuable people to your network or, better yet, possible job leads.

4. Recruiters

I’m often asked by my clients if they should connect with recruiters, to which I say, “Hell, yes.” Recruiters can be a great source of networking; after all, they have a pipeline of employers of which my clients are unaware.

If you are amenable to connecting with recruiters, make sure they serve your industry, particularly if you’re in a niche industry. For example, one of my clients is linguistic specialist in high tech. She translates technical jargon from engineers to other departments.

Another consideration is a recruiter’s reputation. Do some homework and reach out to common connections of recruiters to ask what they know of a few recruiters with whom you’re interested in connecting. You can also get a sense of a recruiter’s character by reading their LinkedIn profile. Although a word-of-mouth recommendation carries more weight.

5. Your Alumni

Connecting with your alumni isn’t only for students and recent grads, although many college career advisors suggest this as a first alternative. You might be interested in a company where one or two of your alumni went. Connecting with them could give you an in or, at the very least, they could provide you with more information about a position or the company.

People who went to a small college, where they’re more likely to know their alumni, will benefit from this the most. I attended a large university where I know a small fraction of the people who attended before, during, and after I did. Nonetheless, I would reach out to my alumni because we have a common bond.


How to connect with like-minded people

Obviously you first have to find like-minded people. A great LinkedIn tool to use is All Filters. I won’t go through the process of using All Filter. This post goes into detail on how to use this feature.

Now that you know with whom you should connect, let’s look at how you connect with them. The art of connecting with LinkedIn members is in the message you craft. There are essentially three types of invites.

1. Connecting directly: the cold invite

This is the least successful way of the three options to invite someone to your LinkedIn. However, it is better than indiscriminately sending an invite with a default message. One method people use that works on me is flatter such as mentioning a specific article I wrote.

Hello Bob,

I read your article on 10 reasons why you should continue to use LinkedIn after landing a job. I’ve just landed a job and will put into practice what you write. I’d like to connect with you and hopefully alert you to new positions in my new company.

Susan Pride

Note: you only have 300 characters with which to work, so your invite needs to be brief.

2. Using a reference in your invites

If you’re going to connect directly, you’re more likely to see success by mentioning a reference in your invite. This would be a common connection, someone who is connected with you and the LinkedIn member with whom you’d like to connect.

Once you have chosen a person who could be a reference for you, contact the person asking if you could use their name in an invite. Don’t assume your shared connection will allow you to use their name.

Once you have your reference’s permission, your message to a new connection might look like this:

Hi Dave,

You and I are both connected with Sharon Beane. She and I work for the MassHire Career Center as workshop facilitators. She strongly encouraged me to connect with you, indicating we can be of mutual assistance.

Sincerely,

Bob

3. Asking for an introduction

This is the most proper way to connect with new people, albeit slower. This method requires asking a trusted connection to send a message to the person with whom you’d like to connect.

Note: It’s best to ask for an introduction through email, because people are more likely to reply to email quicker than LinkedIn messages.

Here is a sample introduction sent via email:

Hi Karen,

I see that you’re connected with Mark L. Brown, the director of finance at ABC Company. I’m currently in transition and am very interested in a senior financial analyst role.

Although there is no advertised position at ABC, I’d like to speak with Mark about the responsibilities of a senior financial analyst role in ABC’s finance department. It is early on in the process, so I’m also scoping out the companies on my bucket list.

I’ve attached my resume for you to distribute to Mark and anyone you know who is looking for a senior financial analyst.

Sincerely,

Bob

PS – It was great seeing our girls duke it out in last weekend’s soccer match. I hope the two teams meet in the finals.

What to do next

You’ve probably heard this multiple times; you must follow up with the people in your network. A disadvantage of having a large network—unless you spend many hours a day on LinkedIn—is the inability to follow up with your connections the proper way. The proper way, you may wonder, is sending individual messages to each person.

The quick ask

Rarely does this work if you need a favor free of charge. Think how you would feel if you connect with someone and the next message you get from them asks for you to buy their product or, in my case, ask you to review their resume. You might feel like you need to take a shower.

The only scenario I can see this working is if you’re applying for a position which has been posted online such as LinkedIn or Indeed, and you reach out to the recruiter or hiring manager, to see if they’ve received your application. In your message you should state your interest in the position and provide three key reasons why you’re the right person for the job.

Recently this worked for a client of mine who reached out directly to the hiring manager, asking him to connect. Sure enough the hiring manager connected and my client asked if he would take a look at his résumé. My client was asked in for a round of interviews, but unfortunately didn’t get the job. Small battles lead to victory.

The slow build

A much better approach is to build relationships one message at a time. I consider it to be akin to courting a person of interest. The first message is to thank the person for accepting your invite and let them know you’re willing to help them in any way you can.

The second message might include a link to an article you thought they might enjoy. In this way you’re showing value to your connections. If you get your connections to respond to your third or forth message, now would be the time to make the “ask.” Perhaps you would like to learn more about the company at which the person works and meet them for an informational interview.

After the informational interview, be sure to continue building the relationship by again thanking the person for their time and sending a link to another article they would enjoy. You should also inquire about other people who you could add to your focused network.


This article originally appeared on Social-Hire.

Photo: Flickr, Susan_Moore_Cool

The Ultimate LinkedIn Guide, Part 2: How to Optimize Your Network

In Part 1, we looked at a checklist you can use to optimize your LinkedIn profile. This post will address optimizing your LinkedIn network; how to connect, with whom to connect, and connecting etiquette.

linkedin-alone

As we address the three stages of optimizing your network, check off the ones you feel you are succeeding at.

Why Connecting with LinkedIn Members is Important

It’s not evident to enough people that the foundation LinkedIn is built on is making connections and nurturing relationships. Yes, creating a strong profile is important, as is engaging with others (which we’ll address in part 3); but building your LinkedIn network is essential.

There are approximately 560 million LinkedIn users worldwide. You are allowed to connect with 30,000 LinkedIn members. Am I suggesting that you build you network to 30,000 people? No. What I am suggesting is that you reach out to an amount of people you’re comfortable with. Most important is that you reach out to the right people.

1. How NOT to Connect

The number one rule when connecting with LinkedIn members is to send a personalized invitation. There is no deviating from this rule. To click “Send now” lacks creativity and is lazy. Instead, always choose “Add a note.”

Invite box

We’ll get into writing the proper invitation note later in the post. Let’s first look at the improper ways of connecting with LinkedIn members.

The following ways to connect will not give you the opportunity to send a personalized invitation; rather it will simply state your name and give the recipient of your invitation the option to Ignore or Accept (see below). When I receive invites like these, I click “Ignore” with no remorse.

Invite without message

Number one on the list of connecting improperly is through the feature, “Your contact import is ready” and then choosing to send mass invites to your email contacts. You’ll find this option under “My Network” on the top navigation bar.

Connecting through email

Second on the list is, “People you may know.” This option is also under “My network.” When you click Connect, your invite goes straight through to the recipient. No chance to write a personal invitation.

People you may know

Finally is connecting with someone on your mobile app by simply hitting the connect button. This, like the aforementioned ways to connect will send along the default message.

2. The Correct Ways to Connect

Connecting correctly means taking the time to read a potential connection’s LinkedIn profile, and then writing a personalized invitation. Following is an example of a personalized invite.

Personalized invite

You can connect with second and third degree contacts. For third degree contacts, LinkedIn hides the connect request under the three horizontal boxes beside the message box. (See below.)

Connecting with 3rd degrees

Contrary to what many believe, you can connect with the LinkedIn mobile app and still send a personalized invite. It’s tempting to simply click “Connect,” but open the person’s profile first and then select the drop-down box (seen below).

phone-invite

3. With Whom to Connect

Your LinkedIn network is your life blood. Without a strong network of people, you will not be successful on LinkedIn. If you are weary of reaching out to people you don’t know, you’ll have to get over it. I tell my clients that the only way they’ll get to know people is by inviting them to their network, or vise versa.

How Many is Enough?

LinkedIn members have opinions on how many people should be in one’s network. Some believe a smaller, more focused network is better; whereas others believe the more the better. How many people you have in your network is your prerogative.

Note: If you have less than 400 connections, you might not be taken seriously by some recruiters.

Regardless of how many people you would like to connect with, there are tiers of people you will want to approach. In the pyramid below the more important or relevant people ascend from the bottom to the top.

pyramid of connections 2

1st tier: Your former colleagues and supervisors, as well as vendors, partners, etc. Connecting with these people first makes the most sense, as they know your work and can vouch for you.

2nd tier: Same occupation, same industry. As an example, you’re an accountant in the manufacturing industry. You will search for other accountants in your industry.

3rd tier: Same occupation but different industry. They have less in common with you, but can also be of assistance. An accountant in the information technology industry may know accountants in manufacturing, and therefore can introduce you to them.

4th tier: Recruiters are an important group of people for many job seekers. I always suggest to my clients that they reach out to recruiters, as they have a pipeline of employers job seekers are unaware of.

5th tier: Target companies. People at your target companies are your quickest way to get to know important employees who work for companies for which you’d like to work. Try to connect with people at your level or a someone who might supervise you.

6th tier: Your alumni can be beneficial to you because of the bond you share. This tier of people is particularly helpful to post grads entering the workforce who need connections to certain companies.

4. Finding Potential Connections

LinkedIn is a powerful database of professionals throughout the world. Finding people will not be difficult if you know how to use LinkedIn’s features. The most obvious way to look for someone by occupation is to use “Search.” A search for Program Manager garners 1,974,989 people. (See below.)

 

People search, program manager

However, to conduct a more focused search, you’ll use “All Filters.

All Filters

From the diagram below, you can see I’ve searched for program managers using the following filters:

  • Title: Program Manager
  • Degree of Connection: 2nd
  • Location: Greater Boston Area
  • Company: IBM

search for program manager

This garnered 37 results to match the criteria. This is a manageable amount of people to consider connecting with.

5. How to Write Proper Invite Messages

The art of connecting with LinkedIn members is in the message you craft. There are essentially three types of messages:

The cold message: This is the most difficult to write successfully. In your message you need to provide a reason why your desired connection should join your network.

Using a reference: This message should garner success as long as the person you reference is well known and trusted by your desired connection. It’s important that your reference agrees to being mentioned in your invite message.

Asking for an introduction. A separate message, or email, from a trusted reference must be sent to the intended person. The person making the introduction must be a first degree connection with you and the recipient.

For the full article on how to send connection invites, read 3 Proper Ways for Job Seekers to Send Invites to Potential LinkedIn Connections

Read part 3 of this series.


 

5 steps to connect with LinkedIn members

But first the proper ways to connect.

LinkedIn Flag

Let’s start with a quiz:

How do you connect with people on LinkedIn? Do you:

  1. indiscriminately click the button that says “Send now”;
  2. take the time to add a note;
  3. ask for an introduction to your desired contact, or;
  4. first send an email to your desired contact before sending an invite?

For many years I’ve been advising people to always add a note when connecting because…it’s the right thing to do. However, after talking with a valued connection, Bobbie Foedisch, I learned a great deal about connecting etiquette. More on that later.

Currently employed, or not, you should build up your network with connections who are like-minded and can be of mutual assistance. Let’s look at three ways to connect with others on LinkedIn.

Connecting directly

For example, if you’re going for the direct connection, your invite message might read like this:

Hello Susan.

When I saw your profile on LinkedIn, I thought it would be great to connect. You and I have a great deal in common, namely that we are in the business of helping people find employment. It would be great to connect.

Bob

Note: you only have 300 characters to work with.

Using a reference to connect

If you’re going to connect directly, you’re more likely to gain success by using a reference. This would be a shared connection—someone who is connected with you and the LinkedIn member with whom you’d like to connect.

Doing a search for a 2nd degree who resides in the Greater Boston Area and works for Philips produces the result below. Below the four people in this image you notice the faces of the shared connections. Click on (number) of shared connections to see who is connected directly with your desired LinkedIn member.

Philips shared connections for Recruiterdotcom

Once you have chosen a person who could be a reference for you, email the person asking if you could use her name in an invite. Your message might be:

Hi Dave.

You and I are both connected with Sharon Beane. She and I work for the Career Center of Lowell as workshop facilitators. We have the utmost respect for each other. When asked if I could mention her in an invite to you, she enthusiastically agreed. I see we do similar work, that of helping others. I would like to join your network in hopes of being of mutual assistance.

Sincerely, Bob.

Asking for an introduction

Bobbie suggests that one should use an introduction when they want someone to join their network. This requires asking a trusted connection to send a message to the person with whom you’d like to connect.

Note: email is Bobbie’s preferred means of asking for an introduction because it is more commonly used than LinkedIn Messaging. Great point.

Here is a sample introduction sent via email.

Hi Karen.

I see that you’re connected with the director of HR, Mark L Brown at (town).

I’m trying to fill a director of DPW position and would like to get some advice from Mark. I read on LinkedIn that they’re trying to fill an accountant position. I like the way he wrote the job description, pointing out their diverse environment.

Thank you in advance for introducing me to Mark. If there’s anything I can do for you, don’t hesitate to ask.

Andy Smith, Human Resources Generalist, 978.935.5555

PS. It was great seeing our girls duke it out in last weekend’s soccer match. I hope the two teams meet in the playoffs.

Now let’s look at the five steps to finding people with whom to connect.

1. Search by people. Just click the magnifying glass in the Search field and then click People. In my case, I came up with a little less than 7,500,000 first, second, and third degree connections.

2. In “All people filters,” select 2nd in Connections for an obvious reason; you cannot connect with your first degrees, as you are already connected. This brings me to more than 124,000

3. Now select the type of person you’re seeking in Keywords. I typed “Career” in the Keywords area in the Title field because I wanted LinkedIn to do a pretty general search for people in the career development/advisor/counselor/coach occupations. This brings my number of connections to slightly more than 7,000.

4. You probably don’t want to look for career related people worldwide. Perhaps you’re focusing on people closer to home. I am, so I got to Locations and select Greater Boston Area. I’m at 825 second degree connections now. Note: sometimes you have to type in the location.

5. Here’s where you want to narrow your search to people who are mutually connected as first degrees with one of your valued connections. In the image above, you see the first person, Anthony, at the top of my list shares 36 degree connections with me.

Next, I will click on one of the circular photos below Anthony who I know well and can  mention as a reference in a cold invite.

2nd degree connection

5. The person I’ve chosen is one who can help facilitate an introduction to the person above. The reason I know this is because she and I have had numerous conversations, and we respect each other’s expertise. In other words, I trust her.


You might think how my friend, Bobbie Foedisch, goes about connecting with people on LinkedIn as time consuming, but she has been successful using LinkedIn for social selling, and she teaches job seekers how to use LinkedIn. She has the right idea about making long-term connections on LinkedIn.

I, on the other hand, am less exact; I connect with like-minded people without reaching out to them beforehand. Whether you connect directly with a LinkedIn user or ask for an introduction, using “Connections of” can effectively facilitate the connection.

If you want to learn more about LinkedIn, visit this compilation of LinkedIn posts.

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Why are you on LinkedIn? Three types of LinkedIn members

Congratulations, you are one of more than 500 million LinkedIn members. LinkedIn is touted as the most professional online networking platform. Many job seekers have used it to find jobs, while others have had no success. You don’t want to fall into the latter category.

why

The success of using LinkedIn depends on knowing why you’re using the networking platform and how to better use it. LinkedIn can be beneficial to your job search, but first decide if you should be using it.

You Have No Idea

You went through the easy process of securing your LinkedIn membership. Because you’re in the job hunt, a career expert told it would be the answer to your prayers. I curse the people who told you this.

If you really believe LinkedIn alone will land your next job, stop drinking the Cool Aid. LinkedIn is not the magic elixir that people might have told you it is. This is the hard truth. Now let me tell you what you have to do.

Have you seen the television program, “The Biggest Loser.” This is you. You will work harder than you’ve worked before…not to lose weight, of course. If you think I’m exaggerating, ask people who have succeeded using LinkedIn to find a job.

Here’s what you need to do: create a profile; connect with people you don’t know; and engage with said people. This is a tall order, but you can do it. The most promising thing about you is that you’re open to all advice LinkedIn authorities offer you. The question is if you’re hungry enough to do what it takes.

Please read this sequence of posts for a full explanation on how to use LinkedIn

You’re Half-Committed

Maybe you’re a tweeny; you have an inkling of an idea of LinkedIn and are knowledgeable enough to be dangerous. You joined the last time you were out of work but neglected LinkedIn after you landed your previous job; now it’s time to get back on the horse. You have promise, though.

First things first; your profile resembles your résumé. That’s because it is. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I suggest to my clients that they start with their résumé as a foundation, but from there they need to turn it into more of a networking document.

The solution is to do serious work on your Branding Headline, create a Summary that reflects your passion and value, and beef up your Experience section. This is what I mean by making your profile a networking document, while still maintaining your value to potential employers.

Next, slowly reconnect with with people in your network. Slowly because you don’t want to come across as someone who needs something only when you contact someone. My kids do this. Don’t be like my kids.

Finally, you’ll become more visible by sharing updates on a regular basis. I generally suggest sharing updates two times a day, four days a week…at a minimum. For those who are a little more committed, engaging with your connections every day is your goal.

Read about the next LinkedIn member, The Pro.

You’re a Pro

You know exactly why you’re using LinkedIn. You have a solid strategy that will land you a job. You’re a pro. This post may not enlighten you, other than you are curious to see if you are on track. You are.

I know your’e a pro when I ask you how often you use LinkedIn, and what you use LinkedIn for. The answer to my first question is…you guessed it, every day. How you’re using it is to continue your lifelong networking efforts.

You are making efforts to connect with people at companies for which you want to work, which means you have a target company list. You’re making substantial connections, some of whom you have met for coffee, or at the very least talked with on the phone.

Occasionally you use the Jobs feature to apply for jobs online, but you know this isn’t the most productive way to spend time looking for work. You notice the alumni who work/ed at your target companies, so you reach out to them. You’re stoked if your fraternity brothers work at a few of your target companies. Hey, bro!

Here is a partial list of what you have in place:

  1. A profile that effectively brands you. There’s nothing more that can be done with your profile.
  2. Keywords that put you within the first four pages of profile searches.
  3. More than 1,500 connections, many of whom are recruiters. Yes, it’s cool to connect with recruiters.
  4. Engaging with your connections in a number of ways, such as sharing illuminating industry updates, writing posts on LinkedIn that brand you, asking questions that provoke thought, etc.
  5. In industry groups, where recruiters also hang out, and starting and adding to discussions.
  6. Most importantly, introducing your fellow job seekers to people who can be of assistance.

Coupled with your strong LinkedIn campaign and personal networking, you’re not going to be unemployed too long. Your strategy is straightforward; connect with quality LinkedIn members and create a mutually helpful relationship. As they say, you’re killing it.


Far be it from me to suggest no one joins LinkedIn. The most important thing to discover is why you’re on LinkedIn. Once you’ve determined this, you’ll have to put in the appropriate amount of effort.

Photo: Flickr, Marco / Zak