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When was the last time you logged in to LinkedIn?
If you only use LinkedIn to peruse job boards when you’re unemployed, it’s time to reconsider the platform. Not only is LinkedIn is a great way to nurture contacts, it’s a useful way to stay on top of your industry. To make the most out of your network, you should have an active presence on the channel—one that’s professional, friendly, and insightful. Here are a few ways to stay active:
Make new connections on a regular basis.
Your LinkedIn connections shouldn’t just be a list of coworkers. There are plenty of opportunities to connect with others in your industry, colleagues from your past, and new people you meet in professional settings. Here are some people to consider adding to your list of connections:
– People you’ve met at networking events
– Thought leaders in your industry
– Past or current clients
– Company partners or vendors
– People whose work you admire
– People who you heard speak at conferences or meetups
– Former or current teachers, professors, and mentors
– Peers, like your old high school friends or college acquaintances
Connect with recruiters in your industry.
This one is especially important! Recruiters live and breathe on LinkedIn. And if you’re staying organized in your job search, you know how important it is to follow up with recruiters on jobs you’ve applied for. But don’t just limit yourself to follow ups!
Find recruiters who work at companies you’re interested in, or who work at staffing agencies that cater to your industry and location. Along with an invitation to connect, send them a personalized message about your interests and goals. Not only will this grow your network, it’ll help you stay top of mind when they think of placing candidates.
Nurture your old connections.
You’ll never know where your connections will end up. Maybe your old boss finds a new job at a company you admire and would love to work for. Maybe someone you met at a networking group who was unemployed at the time got a position at your dream firm. Reaching out to those people only when you need something from them is opportunistic and impersonal.
Nurturing your connections doesn’t just help you stay on friendly terms with your peers, it’ll help reduce the awkwardness you may feel when you actually need something from them in the future (like a job). Try these ideas for staying in contact:
– Congratulate connections when they start new jobs. And don’t just use the template LinkedIn drafts for you—personalized messaging is key!
– Congratulate your connections on their birthday, or when they have work anniversaries. Use that as an opportunity to say “Hi” and check in on how they’re doing.
– Comment and “like” on posts in your LinkedIn newsfeed. Share something insightful, or ask a question to start a deeper conversation.
– Write recommendations for connections that you have a strong personal relationship with. Recommendations don’t have to be for people you managed! You can write a recommendation for a fellow student who worked with you on a project, or a helpful coworker.
– Join LinkedIn groups! There’s a group for every industry or interest, and it’s a great opportunity to dive into some key topics or challenges you’ve experienced in your industry.
LinkedIn’s greatest asset is that it helps networking feel easy, genuine, and stress-free. Once you get in the habit of making and nurturing connections, you’ll be well on your way to finding that dream job.
Ready to reach out to a VanderHouwen recruiter? Get in touch with us.