When it comes to networking, there's one social media platform that stands out: LinkedIn. With nearly 775 million users, LinkedIn offers more than networking — it also provides career advice.
If you're wondering how to use LinkedIn, you're not alone. After making a great LinkedIn profile, you can add connections to your network. LinkedIn makes it simple to import connections from your email or hand-select connections. You can also use LinkedIn's features to expand your network.
After making connection requests, strengthen your network by sending effective messages. You can also reach out to your network for advice. Our guide walks through everything from how to network on LinkedIn to how to write LinkedIn messages.
Who Should I Network With on LinkedIn?
When it comes to how to network on LinkedIn, professionals take many approaches. Some like to connect with recruiters in their industry or use professional organizations. Others prefer to keep their circle tighter.
When setting up your LinkedIn account, make sure to connect with a variety of people. For example, current students should connect with fellow students in their program. Make connections with any friends or family who work in your industry. Consider reaching out to people in adjacent industries who might offer good advice. Current professionals can also connect with coworkers on LinkedIn.
In addition to connecting with people you already know, consider reaching out to members of your alumni network. You should also consider professionals in your industry and people who work at companies you're interested in. Keep in mind that strangers may not accept your request or respond to InMail messages. However, these connections can prove valuable in the future.
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Who Should I Contact for Networking and Advice?
Nearly 775 million people use LinkedIn. So which ones should you contact for networking and career advice? Start by considering your goals. Do you want to build a broad network because you'll be looking for jobs in the future? Or are you on the job market right now? Understanding your aims will help narrow the choices.
Next, draw on your current network. Ask professors to connect you with professionals in your field. Reach out to members of your alumni association, especially if you're moving cities. And research people who inspire you or who followed a similar career path.
In general, early career professionals should reach out to mid-career or experienced professionals when asking for advice. Networking with your peers also pays off as they move into different roles and gain diverse experiences.
What Should I Write in a Networking Message?
What makes a good networking message? First, make sure to follow business etiquette. Greet the person using their title. Sign your message, and use a professional tone.
Second, be as clear as possible. Know your target — are you asking for general career advice? Do you want a suggestion about where to target your career search? Can they connect you with anyone at a company where you're applying for a job? The more specific your message, the more likely you'll receive a positive response.
Finally, always thank people for their time. And follow these additional tips for how to network on LinkedIn.
- Introduce Yourself: Briefly explain who you are and why you're reaching out. Keep this to a few sentences at most.
- Be Specific: Why are you reaching out? Are you asking for something actionable? Vague or unclear messages could result in no reply.
- Keep It Brief: Most people will ignore a dense email that stretches on and on. So keep your networking message brief.
- Do Not Pester: If you do not hear back, be patient. Consider sending one follow up at least a week after your first message. But avoid persistent messages.
Other Networking Tools and Tips
While LinkedIn messaging helps professionals network, consider using other resources. Undergrads and grad students can network in college. Many colleges offer events about how to network. Recent graduates also benefit from college resources. In addition to networking, think strategically about your career goals and even where you'll live after graduation. Building a network early in your career can pay off for decades.
Genevieve Carlton holds a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University and earned tenure as a history professor at the University of Louisville. An award-winning historian and writer, Genevieve has published multiple scholarly articles and a book with the University of Chicago Press. She currently works as a freelance writer and consultant.
AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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