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The first rule of LinkenIn is right after you meet someone, follow up with a request to connect via LinkedIn. The reason is employers prefer to hire via referrals, and when you connect with people on a social media site like LinkedIn that you’d never otherwise meet, you multiply your chances of winning a referral. Indeed, any opportunity to expand the pool of people who know you (and hopefully like and trust you) can help you land the job you want. Thankfully, most jobseekers know this first rule of LinkedIn, and use it. However, there are several other rules, or tricks, that users don't often take advantage of. And here are three that could be essential to getting the job you want.
1. Find and Comment on Your Connections' Blog Posts
Connecting with people on LinkedIn is only the beginning. The next step is to stay on your connections' minds. And that's not easily done. Once you've made a connection with someone on LinkedIn, you have a few options to touch base with them and keep yourself on their radar. The simplest is to send them a direct message, but since that's not often ideal, one easy and underused option is to find out if your identified contact posts blogs on LinkedIn, and, if so, comment on them.
It’s easy to find these posts, as most people feature them at the top of their LinkedIn profiles. If you can find blog posts, when you comment on them be sure to tag the person in your comment. For example, you might say, “@PERSONNAME, I agree with your points, especially #5 ...” By typing the @ symbol right before the person’s name, LinkedIn will allow you to hyperlink (tag) to the contact, which helps notify him or her of the mention. Another suggestion is to simply “like” or “share” updates your target contacts post. Keep an eye on your stream of updates when you sign into LinkedIn and click through to the “flag” notification icon at the top right toolbar of your LinkedIn profile to be alerted when your contacts post information.
Similar to commenting on blogs, find out if your target contacts are actively participating in any LinkedIn groups; if so, join them, comment, and engage. People you want to reach are much more likely to notice you and recognize your name if you're in similar groups when you want to call or email them about something specific. And you can always reference your shared groups or connections via LinkedIn when you do want to reach them.
2. Make Your Profile Magnetic
Keep in mind that the goal of your LinkedIn profile is to attract attention to your LinkedIn profile. And so you need to fill it with magnetic content, with content that'll attract people to your profile. To that end, a good first step when creating or updating your profile is to decide which words people will use to search for someone like you when they're hiring. That is, you should think about what words hiring managers will likely use in LinkedIn’s search toolbar when looking to hire a person with your skills and experiences. And once you come up with those words, use them in your LinkedIn headline, and incorporate them into your job titles.
Note that your LinkedIn headline should include keywords as well as a pitch. And don’t list your current job title. Instead, explain what you do to solve problems for the places you work. For example, a LinkedIn headline for a business analyst might be: "Business Analyst: Develop and implement systems to bridge gaps between HR and IT organizations."
In any case, make sure to review your LinkedIn headline. You should ask yourself, Does it speak directly to my target audience? Does it clearly outline what I can do for them? Does it include key search terms to help win search results?
3. Connect with Everyone You Know, Including Your Mother
You never know when someone you know will know someone you want to know. For example, Corey-Jan Albert, a writer and marketing consultant, has a great networking connection story about her son, Cameron, a recent college graduate seeking a journalism position:
“About a week ago, he mentioned a position he applied for. I asked him if he knew who he'd be working for there, and he said he did. I told him to check the guy's LinkedIn and see what he could find. He called me back and said, ‘YOU know someone who knows him! I can't see who that is since I'm two degrees of contact removed, but you can.’ It turns out the common connection was Cameron's 5th grade soccer coach—now living in New York, working at Reuters. Cameron reached out to him. The former soccer coach was thrilled to hear from him, and not only gave him some intel on the situation at hand; he also offered to link him up with the editor at Reuters in charge of freelance assignments. Double win!”
This story proves a few important lessons about networking. You may find the best networking contacts are people who would never have considered members of your official network. (Most college graduates don’t think their 5th-grade soccer coach will be a key player in their job search efforts. It’s also a good reminder to tap into family member networks.) Especially if you believe your network is small, connect with relatives on LinkedIn. It’s perfectly acceptable (and expected) to “link in” with your parents, grandparents, and their friends. If Cameron hadn’t been linked to his mom, he would not have realized this terrific contact. Unexpected results may happen from networking. In this case, Cameron accessed a freelance contact, even though he's seeking a traditional, full-time job. You never know what surprises await when you explore your networking potential.
The above post was adapted from the new Vault Guide to Networking.
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