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How to Leverage LinkedIn for Virtual Networking

With quarantines and rising coronavirus numbers, virtual networking has become the primary means of staying connected networking-wise. LinkedIn recently reported that more professionals are on LinkedIn than ever before, understandably. If you have wanted to grow your network, now is a great time to do so and we encourage you to take advantage of this tool. To help you leverage LinkedIn in a more meaningful way, we recommend the following tips. 

Think about why you want to connect. LinkedIn isn’t about having a lot of followers like other social networking sites. Make sure you have a reason for wanting to connect with someone and tell them what it is. Always include a note inside the request to connect that lets them know why you want to connect. Make it personal by adding something that resonated with you on their profile, a mutual interest of expertise that you have, or something you admire about them professionally. 

If you want to connect with someone you don’t know personally and feel uncomfortable about sending a connection request, see if you have a mutual connection who could make an introduction. This will make it easier for both of you. Networking can be easier than you think, you just need to have a plan and stay organized.

Complete your profile. We know you’ve heard this before, but too many people still don’t have a complete profile. Your profile needs to be as complete as possible since this is what recruiters, potential clients, and new connections will be looking at, well before they talk to you. LinkedIn changes all the time. Right now, you need to include the following elements:

– A profile picture. LinkedIn profiles with professional headshots get 14 times more profile views than those without. Make sure that you use a professional photo, you are smiling, it’s straight on (not a side view headshot) and you use a clean background.

– Your branding statement. You need to sell yourself and your value to prospective employers and recruiters. Make sure to include measurable results whenever possible.

– Keywords. Use keywords in your summary that will make it easier for hiring managers and clients to find you. Look at keywords that are common in your industry and that are common in job postings you are interested in. 

– Recommendations. Ask former co-workers, supervisors, and clients to write you a recommendation. This builds credibility and helps you stand out

Set a schedule for networking. Make networking a part of your weekly schedule! Set an hour a week as a baseline goal. Utilize LinkedIn’s notifications to help you stay up-to-date with your connections. This includes sending messages for work anniversaries, new jobs, and other professional achievements. Make sure to reply to all the messages in your inbox, even if it’s just to say “thank you.” You can also check “Today’s news and views” for hot topics that you could share in your network in a meaningful way. 

Emma Luttrell
Lead Career Coach