Years ago, networking meant that you would go to conferences and other professional events where you could interact with others in your industry. It made almost everyone uncomfortable and stressed.
But now, when you have a digital presence on LinkedIn, you can not only network with people you know from your professional life, but also “meet” and make connections with others. By building a robust network that expands over time, you can grow your presence in your chosen field.
Unlike a social network like Facebook where you are simply friends with every person you add, LinkedIn is different. If we have a 1st-degree connection on LinkedIn, that means we are directly in touch, that we “know” one another. However, a 2nd- or 3rd-degree connection is when one or two people are between us.
1st degree: Me > You
2nd degree: Me > Someone Else > You
3rd degree: Me > Someone Else > Someone Else > You
I was an early adopter of LinkedIn, joining back in 2004. Today, I have more than 2,500 1st-degree connections. I tap into this group of people regularly.
You need to know who is in your network because most jobs are filled by someone helping someone they know get into a company.
Consider these questions:
- Who are the people who are your 1st-degree connections?
- How do you know them?
- When was the last time you had contact with them?
- Where do they work now?
- Who are your 2nd– and 3rd-degree connections? They can also be helpful.
Now you can strategize on how to contact each person in a natural way:
- What would you say if you unexpectedly ran into the person at Starbucks?
- How would you start the conversation?
- You can go to their company’s website or LinkedIn page to look for any posted jobs that interest you. That way, you actually have a good reason to contact them.
It’s also possible to download all of the data on your connections to Excel:
- Go to your profile and look for the drop-down menu for “Settings and Privacy” in the top right- hand corner of your screen.
- Click on “Privacy.”
- Scroll down to “Download your data.”
- Then go to “Archive the connections.”
- You will get an Excel spreadsheet so you can organize your list of contacts however you want.
This will take some work, but you might be surprised by how useful it is. I once had a client who started this process with the letter “A.” Soon after, he was hired by “Alex” because they used to work together.
Someone once contacted me as a 2nd-degree connection to find out if I remembered her. Of course I did, as I was her boss in the mid-80s. We had never talked since then. She engaged me to write her resume, which she used for her successful job search. She would never have found me without LinkedIn.
I can help you write a fabulous profile. And then I can coach you on how to use the power of LinkedIn to tap into your professional network. The chances are good that this will be the way to get your new job.
So, get in touch with me to get started. And don’t forget to add me as a 1st-degree connection! There is NO charge for an initial consultation.