For the past eight years, I’ve been helping people that are going through career transition with their LinkedIn strategy, and I always assign the same homework after their Profile has been updated: start connecting with people! Your network is your key to everything in business, including finding your new role.
What clients taught me early on was to assign this homework in the form of a dare. To many, connecting with others on social media seems like a daunting assignment. So daring, or even double-dog daring people to engage in this business handshake provides the motivation they need. However, even if the motivation is enough to get you started, what do you do next? Who are you going to connect with, especially when you’re feeling a little tentative about the ‘whole social media thing’? Which people do you want to reach out to, especially if you’re still feeling raw from exiting your last job?
Here is what I would like to suggest to those of you who no longer have access to your workplace Outlook contacts. I’m going to dare you to data mine your existing contacts on LinkedIn. There’s no need to try recalling names from memory and this is a great way to ease into networking meetings with people you know and like. Keep in mind, this advice is based on the latest LinkedIn interface. Don’t blink or it might change again!
- From the LinkedIn navigation bar, pick My Network – Connections.
- Click on the name of a person you worked with (this doesn’t have to be recent). After their Profile pops up, look for their number of connections. This is a link. Go ahead and click on the number. Now you should see some people with label next to their name that reads ‘2nd’. These are your 2nd level connections. In a nutshell, this means that you are not connected to them directly but instead, through another connection you currently have. Now is the time to connect – that social media business handshake that I mentioned earlier. You will likely recognize some of these people labeled 2nd. People you’ve worked with, done business with, etc.
- Click on their Connect link and you’ll see a template: Invite “name goes here” to connect on LinkedIn.
- Complete the entry for how you know each other. This can be as simple as “Hi Fran: I was taking a few minutes to update my LinkedIn contacts and spotted your name. Would you like to connect?” Naturally, if you know this person well, you’ll craft a suitably personal note.
Oh, I forgot to mention the best part. You’ll do this daily for a week while treating yourself to your favourite cuppa tea, café corretto, glass of wine or beer – time of day permitting!
Give this a try. How many connections did you start with? How many connections do you have after a week – or whatever term of time you picked?
I dare you…no, I double-dog dare you to share your results!