How to Connect with the Right People on LinkedIn

The ability to connect with the right people on LinkedIn can make a difference in your career. Additionally, professionals recognize that in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace, relationships and networks are currency, and key assets. But how do you know who the right people are, and how can you find them on the professional social networking site? The best place to start the process is to understand why you are on LinkedIn in the first place, and your reasons can change depending on where you are in your career and what you are going through at any point in time.
When you have identified your reasons for being on LinkedIn, then you are in a position to find relevant people who will be able to assist you in achieving your goals – you are going to recruit people to your network. The kinds of people to connect with on LinkedIn include certain groups – Recruiters, hiring managers, decision-makers such as senior leaders, information sources, individuals who are sounding boards and cheerleaders. Spend some time to create a target list of people from each group. You may already have names of people, but if you don’t, speak to family, friends and colleagues, explaining what you are trying to accomplish, then ask for recommendations, and introductions if possible.
If you have names or titles of people that you would like to connect with on LinkedIn, do a people search on the platform, taking time to read each profile. After you have read a profile, decide if the person is the right connection for you. Craft a compelling invitation to connect, never using the LinkedIn default message. In your introduction, state who you are and why you want to connect to the prospective contact. Also include what you have to offer since networking is about relationships and relationships are about give and take.
After you have connected with the right people on LinkedIn, it is time to work on nurturing the relationships and maintaining your network of contacts. LinkedIn has made it easy to stay in touch with your network of contacts by notifying you of anniversaries and birthdays. Another simple way to stay in touch is by forwarding articles of interest with your professional insights. As a rule of thumb, give before you take from a relationship, so make yourself valuable to the people in your network. And when you ask for a favor, make sure that you give something that is even more valuable in return.
As LinkedIn continues to evolve to make itself more valuable to its users, it’s now easier than ever to connect with the right people on LinkedIn.

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