Personalise your invites
“I meet and exchange business cards with dozens of people at various conferences,” says journalist Andrea Smith. “If, like me, it sometimes takes you a little time before you get around to making that online connection, it’s possible I no longer have any idea who you are or how I met you.” You are much more likely to make an impact on the person you are trying to connect with if you add a brief message, telling them exactly who you are and why you want to connect, e.g. ‘Hi Andrea, it was great to meet you at SXSW last week. You might remember me as the overly caffeinated rep for Ogilvy! If you’d like to connect, I have a collaboration opportunity I’d love to discuss with you.’
Keep your profile up to date
There’s a reason LinkedIn lets you know how complete your profile is in %. Seeing a profile without a photo, personal summary or complete work history is a turn-off to networkers and employers alike. The LinkedIn profile offers you a fantastic platform to show off what you’ve achieved in your career – make the most of it!
Be respectful (and realistic)
Asking somebody for career advice out of the blue is naïve at best and rude at worst. If somebody is influential enough that you want to ask them for help, then they are also most likely incredibly busy. A more reasonable approach would be to send them a message, saying that you have read their article or blog, and you’re interested in reading more on the subject. Asking for a link or reading recommendation is much less intrusive, and could possibly lead to a connection.
The most common mistake that people make when using LinkedIn is that they forget it is there until they are already out of work. In order to get the most out of your LinkedIn profile, you need to invest time in it even when the going is good! There’s no bad time to start establishing a network of contacts. If you’re conscious that your current employer can see what you’re up to, don’t worry; you can use LinkedIn to follow news and start conversations about the latest developments in your industry, making you a better employee. Then, when it comes to looking for other work, you will already have a good base to start from.
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