“It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Like it or not, this is one of the most oft-quoted mantras when it comes to building – and utilising – work connections. People recommend those they know, and those they know to be good at what they do. Now more than ever, LinkedIn can play a vital role in how you network.
LinkedIn tips and tricks
Using the following tips and tricks, LinkedIn can help you build, strengthen and make your existing networks more effective:
Complete your profile
Your LinkedIn profile displays all the information about your career and interests, making LinkedIn a valuable tool for potential clients, recruiters and other industry professionals to get to know you. Don’t sign up and forget about it – spend some time filling in the blanks. LinkedIn is search engine optimised, which means that the more you fill out, the easier it is for others to find you and get connected.
Quality – not quantity
LinkedIn is about building personal, mutually beneficial relationships – not gaining mass numbers of Twitter followers. These relationships require time and care to remain effective, and the more connections you have, the more time you must spend on maintaining them. Although adding all of your friends and family can be tempting, try instead to focus on the people you want to build genuine professional relationships with – your networks will be stronger for it!
Personalising is key
Always customise your invitations to connect with people. Never send the default request, particularly if you’ve never met them before or don’t know them very well. Why would people want to connect with you if you haven’t invested any effort to begin with? Be sure to introduce yourself and state how you found them (e.g. identify the connection), and the reasons why you want to connect.
Whether from a client that thinks you did a great job or from a work colleague attesting to your character, recommendations from others can be displayed on your LinkedIn profile. If someone is willing to vouch for you, chances are that more people will be comfortable connecting with you. Don’t be shy – ask people you’ve worked with if they can write you one. That’s the whole point of a network!
LinkUp your email
Add a link to your LinkedIn page in your email signature to help clients and colleagues get to know you.
Join and create groups
LinkedIn groups are a great and professional way to engage with your networks, and even build new ones. They are also useful for promoting your work and keeping up to date with the latest industry news and trends.
Check it’s appropriate
Remember that LinkedIn can be another way of doing business or engaging with your profession. Always think twice about whether the content you post and the language style used are appropriate.
And one final tip…
Although social media has changed the way we network, never forget the importance of face-to-face networking. LinkedIn should be used to assist – not replace! Meeting people and keeping in touch are just as important as they’ve ever been. After all, your networks are only as strong as you make them.
Do you have any networking tips that work for you?
This article originally appeared on Young Lawyers’ Blog, first published on 19 October 2012.