Written by Fritz Hillegas
When building your professional profile almost everyone thinks about their CV, their references, and their various interviews; however, one of the things that is most often overlooked is a tool that almost all employers and recruiters alike use; LinkedIn has the potential to be rich with information from education details to professional history to the size of one’s professional network. While there have been numerous articles and blogs written across the internet about how to build an impressive professional profile on LinkedIn, one thing that these articles often fail to highlight is the importance of the size of one’s professional network.
Don’t get me wrong, your ability to get a job will not be made or broken by the size of your LinkedIn network. That being said, there are so many benefits to having a larger number of connections that you could be missing out on. First of all, LinkedIn is a great place to network—you never know who could be a potential employer. Additionally, having a larger following increases the amount of traffic on your profile—and that is always a good thing.
While talking about a large network is one thing, achieving and maintaining a large network is totally another. However, fear not because here are some tips and tricks as to how to grow your network on LinkedIn.
1. Complete your profile
Now this might sound like an obvious tip, but you’d be surprised by how many people fail to complete this step. Include everything from your birthdate, to the entirety of your pertinent professional experience. Make sure to fill in the details about your responsibilities and achievements at each of your past jobs. Having a completed profile makes you look legitimate and professional, making people more likely to accept connection requests and connect with you in the first place.
2. Set goals
Set network goals for yourself. This will encourage you to spend time looking through connection suggestions. The ideal goal should be to have a network of at least 500 people because after 500 connections LinkedIn only shows 500+ on your profile. However, for those of you who are just starting out or who have small networks, usually goals of 50 or 100 connections at a time can be more effective and attainable.
3. Don’t be afraid to connect
Usually on social media there are strict rules to follow about following or friending people. On sites like Facebook or Instagram, if you follow people who you barely know you could cause some uncomfortable and quite awkward social scenarios; however, on LinkedIn the barrier to connecting is much lower. Past co-workers, friends from middle/high school, or people that you have ever done any kind of business with are all viable candidates for your professional network. There is much less of a stigma around following people you’re only vaguely acquainted with because on LinkedIn you’re both helping each other out by expanding your networks and influences.
4. Join group pages
LinkedIn has a wonderful section on its website titled Groups. Joining different groups that pertain to your experience, your industry, or your interests can connect you with people in similar fields/situations and will not only help you keep up with what’s going on in these areas of the professional world, but also will help you to make more connections.
5. Post interesting content frequently
Most people barely ever post on their LinkedIn pages, but this is a big mistake if you’re trying to grow your network. Even if you just post a few articles/videos you find interesting, it can increase interaction with your page and grow the number of connections you have.
If you follow these tips and tricks you should be able to grow your professional network in no time on LinkedIn. A larger network means a greater amount of access to jobs, advice, and other professional opportunities.