Do you know how many 1st degree connections you have on LinkedIn? Do you know who they are? My own list of 2,800 connections has steadily grown since 2004.
LinkedIn is the best business resource to maintain and grow your professional network. But it doesn’t do anything for you if you don’t know who is included. You need to be able to relate to each person in one way or another.
You can get such a list from LinkedIn, including an Excel spreadsheet with every connection. Go to “Settings and Privacy”. Look for “How LinkedIn uses your data”. Go to “Get a copy of your data”. You can then get a Zip file with all your information (including your connections).
I suggest doing an exercise with LinkedIn of researching each person individually. This will take some time, depending on the length of your list.
One of my clients started with the letter “A”. Surprise! Someone named “Alex” hired him. It had been seven years since they worked together.
Go through this exercise in whatever way is the most organized and helpful for you. The point is to review every single person.
You can consider different things.
- Who are they?
- What was the last contact you had? When?
- How do the two of you know each other?
- Where do they work now since you were last in touch?
- Where did they work before the two of you met? You might be surprised.
- Then go to the “career” section for each company website.
- Are you interested in any of the postings?
- Can you see that the changed industries? What is the story behind that?
That gives you a reason to reach out to each person. Can they help you network in?
But what would happen if the two of you unexpectedly met at Starbucks? The natural way to start a conversation would be to ask the other person what they have been doing lately.
So spend some time thinking about everyone and reach out to those you want to connect with. It will take time to strategize, but it will be worth it! You can schedule a free consultation to talk about it.