9 Rules to LinkedIn Networking and Making Connections

LinkedIn Networking is extremely useful in creating career opportunities and opening doors to increasing your income. With LinkedIn, you’re able to connect with professionals in your field at all levels of the organization. Learning how to properly make connections on LinkedIn is extremely important to your long-term success. Here are the top 9 rules to networking and making connections on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is growing at a rapid rate. Boasting over 675 million monthly active users it has the ability to connect you with professionals in any industry, all over the world. It operates to a different beat than other social media platforms and has best practices and unwritten rules that I highly recommend you stick to.

The primary point in building your LinkedIn connections is to increase your future job opportunities. The more connections you make in your industry, the more likely you have an inside person to connect with regarding future job opportunities.

When applying for a job, it’s extremely effective to find the hiring manager on LinkedIn and connect with them stating your interest in the job opening and asking for a chance to discuss further.

There’s a different level of respect and professionalism that is applied on the LinkedIn platform and I’m going to cover some key points to make you more effective at LinkedIn networking.

Below you’ll find a list of the 9 rules we’re going to cover for improving your LinkedIn networking strategy:

  1. Be organic and personable

  2. Be Active

  3. Stick to what you know

  4. Respond promptly

  5. Market yourself

  6. Bring value to your LinkedIn network

  7. Don’t expect anything in return

  8. Update your LinkedIn profile

  9. Look, look-back strategy

If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile you get one ASAP! LinkedIn has been found to be a very effective tool for the business world and helping build professional relationships, which often times lead to employment opportunities. If you would like to connect with me or use my profile as an example, view my LinkedIn profile.

I’ve curated a list of the top 9 rules to LinkedIn Networking and making connections. This is an actionable list that you can start today. They’re not in any order and are guaranteed to improve your ability to connect with others on LinkedIn.

“A show of interest, as with every other principle of human relations, must be sincere. It must pay off not only for the person showing the interest but for the person receiving the attention. It is a two-way street – both parties benefit” – Dale Carnegie

1. Be organic and personable

When you reach out to introduce yourself, include a personalized note explaining why you want to connect. Once they accept your connection, send them a quick follow up message expressing gratitude, why you value their connection, and that you hope to learn from them and their experience. This warm connection can set the stage for a future meeting where you discuss work history, experience, and future opportunities in your industry.

While I do not discourage anyone trying to connect, I am pickier about LinkedIn connections I am willing to accept. There is a healthy balance of recognizing those who are genuinely interested in bringing value to your connection and those who just want to reach a super-connector status.

Just like building a company, you should be strategic and selective on who you bring on board, but be careful not to judge a book by its cover. You never know what opportunity is hiding behind that connection request. Remember, you can always remove the connection at a later date.

2. Be active

If you can commit to bringing valuable content to your networks’ feed, it can have unexpected ROI down the road. Not only should you actively post, but engage with your networks’ posts as well. When it comes to LinkedIn messages, I recommend you respond as soon as possible.

If you’re truly serious about building your LinkedIn network and making valuable connections, you should be posting with a regular frequency.

3. Stick to what you know

You wouldn’t go to an in-person networking event and talk about industries you know nothing about. Linkedin is no different. Stick to your industry, trends within your industry, and the future outlook of your industry. If you’re a frequent contributor, you may even earn a “thought leader” status in which you’ll start to see significant networking, connection, and opportunity growth.

4. Respond promptly

It doesn’t take more than 60 seconds to type out a quick note and people really appreciate those who are responsive with any channel of communication. For example, when you text a friend and their read receipts are on; you can see they viewed your message but don’t respond…do not be that friend.

No doubt, you’re going to get recruiters and staffing agencies trying to place you in a completely unrelated position. By simply responding with a “no thank you,” or “I’m not interested, but thanks for your time” you will save them time and keep your message feed clean.

5. Market yourself

When you click the “Connect” button, the recipient is limited to what they can see about your profile. Within seconds, they will most likely take a look at your professional profile picture and begin to skim read your summary.

Now is the time to make a lasting impression! Just like that elevator pitch, you need to craft a message to grab their attention and help them engage with who you are. This can make all the difference as you expand your network.

Don’t forget to add your relevant work history. If you have a decent amount of professional work history, consider leaving off your fast-food experience. You don’t want a list of 10 past jobs in your work history section.

Update your work history each time you receive a promotion or title change. This will show a positive correlation of growth within your organization over time and will look really good to outside observers.

6. Bring value to your LinkedIn network

You have to bring value to the relationship right off the get-go. Why? Because as humans we have a filter and mindset that says, “What’s in it for me?”. If you have had this thought before, so has the individual you’re seeking to build a connection and relationship with.

The first question most people have when they see a connection request is, “why do they want to connect with me?” It’s human nature and the first steps they will take is to try to figure out your angle.

Deliver valuable content and resources to your target audience and I am confident the payout of future opportunities will present themselves.

7. Don’t expect anything in return

LinkedIn provides the opportunity to endorse members of your network from basic skill sets like Microsoft Office to industry-specific ones. This will help build their credibility and oftentimes results in, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”. However, I don’t hold the expectation others will do the same, but oftentimes it prompts a reciprocated response, which helps build your credibility.

If you don’t expect anything in return, you’re less likely to be disappointed. As with any form of outreach, success is unlikely. Be proactive, leave a positive message of your desire to build out your network of professional LinkedIn connections, and continue on.

8. Update your LinkedIn profile

Regardless of your employment status, I highly recommend you keep current on your resume and work experience. You never know when the next big opportunity is around the corner and I would much rather be prepared than scrambling to build a quality resume at the drop of a hat.

Even if you’re unemployed, put a positive spin on the situation and let employers know how eager you are to bring value to an organization through your endorsements, skill-sets, or certifications you’ve received.

Don’t forget your education history! It’s super important to making connections on LinkedIn. If you’re alumni at the same school, your connection success rate will increase. You’re familiar and have something in common with your prospective connection.

9. Look, look-back strategy

There’s a popular strategy called the “look, look-back strategy.” LinkedIn is unique in that you can see who has viewed your profile page. You can use this knowledge to your advantage. The strategy is simple. View the profile of your desired connection (but don’t connect).

Keep an eye out over the next few days and it’s likely that person will have returned the favor and viewed your profile. This is a “soft-connection.” Now you can request to connect with a polite message and no longer be perceived as a stranger. This strategy has been thought to increase the likelihood of a response and connection.

Summary

I hope this has been insightful in helping lead you down the path of success and early retirement. LinkedIn has been a great platform to expand my personal network, generate business opportunities, and even create long-lasting relationships.

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