And Why It Even
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#1. Yes, LinkedIn Is a Numbers
Game…But Numbers Offer Strategy.
Now, it might pretend to be something else, and you may be using it for something else. BUT as
soon as you want LinkedIn to do more for you than just be an extension of your resume compiling
your past career connections into one place (where you basically do little with them), then
it becomes what all social media essentially becomes: a numbers game nonetheless.
That is not necessarily a bad thing. With more than 300 million users, these numbers can offer you
opportunity with just a little effort to build a strong network, not just of “lots” of people but also
of well-placed connections you can leverage to put you in front of targeted employers.
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#2. Social networking is about,
“I am VERY cautious about whom I connect with on LinkedIn. I only connect with people I know.”
On the surface, it sounds like a good strategy. And it isn’t all that bad if you aren’t really looking to
make a career move ever again. BUT as soon you enter into the realm of either active or passive job
seeker, you will realize that your personal network isn’t as strong or as responsive as you would like it
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Peer-to-peer networking is great, yes, but today’s market offers more “pipelines”
of networking, which LI can help provide that. Why not do both?
#3. Understand the value
of 2nd-level connections.
The more 1st level connections you have, the
more 2nd level connections you generate
(remember the 6-degrees of Kevin Bacon?).
And the more 2nd level connections you
generate, the more likelihood of having better
access to key decision makers in your target job
Not to mention, the better ranking you receive
in LinkedIn search (the same is true for how
many silly endorsements in a particular area
you receive…did you even know you had a
LinkedIn ranking? Sure you do, and it is basically
LinkedIn isn’t really about 1st level
connections, you know, those people
you “know.” Sure, that is great that
you know 200 people, etc.
LinkedIn is really about 2nd level
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LinkedIn uses a search algorithm
much like Google or other search
#4. It’s time to meet
new people. Only this
time, it doesn’t have to
be so uncomfortable!
Now, LinkedIn likes to play coy with this because essentially the
company is in business to make a profit (it is NOT a nonprofit service,
after all). Although it says that it is protecting you from the dreaded
spam, really, LinkedIn wants you to buy into its Premium services
(don’t forget this!).
So, it entices you to network, lets you connect with your friends for
free, and gives you access to groups.
BUT then it makes it difficult for you to expand your network to
connect with others you don’t know unless you are given an
introduction by one of your 1st level connections or pay for their
InMail services (which LinkedIn claims everyone reads, but very few
So how do you get around this?
Like it or not, even on LinkedIn
(or any social media), you have to get
out there and meet people.
If face-to-face networking isn’t really
you’re thing, then maybe social
networking will be.
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#5. Think Quality AND Quantity when choosing connections.
For more on this, check out our post called “The Age-Old Social Media Quality vs. Quantity Debate”.
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Does today’s job search and social media all just seem like a big game to you? Honestly, it kind of is. Technology, as
much as we love it, has taken the traditional job search process and made it more convoluted…and expensive. The good
news, however, is that some tools are opening up opportunities that were much harder to find before, and LInkedIn can
be one of them.
The challenge is in knowing which game is worth playing for you.
#6. Groups provide great
Groups are your one “free” way to meet and
network with other professionals in the same
industry or profession as you. So there is some value
in paying attention to what is happening in these
groups and to targeting individuals you would like to
After all, LinkedIn gives you 3000 invites you can
send out, so after “meeting” in the group, you can
send someone an invite providing a reason for why
you would like to connect with him or her (don’t
forget this part! Most people shun the default LI
text, so customize yours. Give a quick explanation of
why you want to connect by pointing out something
you both share).
If you are like me, you have joined
some of the LinkedIn groups that were
recommended to you (most likely by
LinkedIn), but either you show up
every once in a while or you never do.
You’re just out there as a passive
member because, well, who has time
to read through every post of every
group you belong to?
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#7. Even better is that LinkedIn group members can send a private message to
one another (provided a person has not shut off this feature) IF they are 2nd
level connections or better.
So this means that you can send a message to people in your groups introducing yourself without being so
presumptuous as to send an unsolicited invite.
Now, I wouldn’t go around sending a message to everyone or sending anything that sounds like the
dreaded “spam,” but it is a good idea if you see someone who meets your target area for networking that
you take the initiative of introducing yourself through a message.
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As of July 2015, LinkedIn has put limits on the number of private group messages you can send each monthly.
They set the limit at 15, and you cannot carry over messages from month to month
(Remember: They want you to buy their Premium services. So they are making it more difficult for heavy users).
For most professionals, 15 per month is plenty, however.
#8. Leverage the power of
Most colleges/universities have LinkedIn
alumni groups you can join. Pretty much all
have alumni directories you can have access to.
If you have a list of targeted employers,
industries, or roles, then you can search these
groups/databases to find fellow alum to reach
out to. Having them connect with you on
LinkedIn allows you build rapport and open up
further 2nd-level connections (getting you
closer to being positioned in front of decision
If there’s one area people tend to overlook
the further away from college they get is the
power of the alumni connection.
It may seem silly, but the alumni connections
should not be ignored. When you are
reaching out to someone “cold,” having
something that you’ve shared, such as a
college, is a great lead-in for an introduction.
Furthermore, studies show that we like to
engage and respond to our fellow alum.
If you share a fraternity/sorority, sport, or
club, along with the alumni connection, even
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Remember that sorority or
fraternity? Make sure to reach
out to them and look for
brothers/sisters on LinkedIn.
#9. Do the same with military or civic connections.
Much like with alumni connections, LinkedIn also has groups for military and civic associations. Make sure
to join them, BUT take it a step further and reach out to meet those in these groups who are somehow
connected to targeted employers, industries, and roles you are pursuing or are interested in pursuing.
This approach is called “Networking with Positioning,” and it can be very effective.
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Doesn’t sound appealing? Think of
how much better it is than
attending all of those awkward
networking mixers! At least with
this you share something in
#10. Don’t let your
connections sit in your
How do you do that? Figure out ways to be a value-added resource to
your network and provide that value to them.
Again, without “spamming,” you want to reach out from time to time,
touch base. Congratulate them on new jobs. Send them a link to a
relevant article. Ask them how they are doing….
My favorite is to make introductions. People notice and appreciate
that. We get very favorable responses when we do this for our
Networking is tiring. And the bigger your network gets, the more tiring it
can become. BUT if you are building a network that focuses in on your
target market (do you know what it is?), then the bigger the better. And
LinkedIn is happy to help you play the game.
Once you make these valuable new
connections, now you have to decide
what to do with them.
Otherwise, your profile is just going to sit
there with no real engagement with your
contacts and you aren’t really
Sure, they can see your “feed” as it
comes through each day, but they aren’t
that vigilant (again, trust me). If you want
an active network, then you have to wake
up the sleeping giant, so to speak.
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#11. Don’t be afraid to ask your 1st-level connections for introductions.
As long as you don’t make yourself a pest, people generally enjoy doing favors. It makes them feel good. So if you see
that one of your 1st-level connections is connected to someone at one of your target companies or industries, then
send them a quick note in LinkedIn asking them for an introduction. And make sure to be willing to return the favor.
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Does this mean everyone is receptive? No, but more are than aren’t. Be sure
to learn about “The 3 Most Common Types of Networkers.”
#12. Don’t be afraid to
ask for the informational
Sometimes we think informational
interviews are only for new college
grads or younger professionals, but
that is incorrect. They can be
extremely valuable for the more
Be sure to check out “Acing the
Informational Interview” for more on
Moving a connection offline is a great
way to build better engagement and
rapport. It’s also fundamental in
gathering information on your target
Even if you aren’t looking to make
that next career move right now, this
is the perfect time to build stronger
network connections WITH the
proper positioning to help you when
that time does come.
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When interviewing top
executives, many of them credit
informal meetings or
“interviews” as the most
successful job search method.
#13. With 300+ million LI members, it’s also time to take a look at how your LI
profile is positioning you in the marketplace…
For more on this, check out our article “Building Your LinkedIn Network Empire”.
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Most of us have no idea how we rank in LI keyword searches.
#14. If you plan to be in the tech job market for the next 5, 10, 15+ years, you
will likely need to embrace LinkedIn in a more active way…
Do you have to do it?
No. You don’t have to do anything.
95% of technical professionals don’t.
As a result, they struggle to understand the market when the time is finally “right” for them to start looking.
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This should be a
It’s not. Very
few pros are
willing to adapt.
To help you get a better feel for where you currently stand with your LinkedIn profile, I’ve
developed a simple self-assessment survey you can take that is quick to do, free, and helps
you compare your profile against those that are having more success on LI in either building
a recruiter “pipeline” or engaging their network:
LI Profile Optimization Self-Assessment
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Coming in Summer 2015: The latest release by Brian Tracy featuring
Stephen Van Vreede. Click here to receive an advanced chapter release:
The Rise of the Corporate Entrepreneur
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Read our prospectus: Your Way Out of the Resume Jungle.
Also, check out our free self-assessments:
From Tech Job Market Zoo to Corporate Goo...
How to Protect What You’ve Built So Far.
LI Profile Optimization Self-Assessment
Career Move Preparation Self-Assessment
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