5 Steps to Making Career Changing Connections on LinkedIn
This blog post reveals how to make career changing connections on LinkedIn, even if you don't like LinkedIn and wonder how useful it really is.
You've heard you need to use LinkedIn, so you've created a profile. But you rarely use LinkedIn.
While others post daily, have grown thousands of followers, get followed by influencial people and get tons of comments and responses to what they post, you rarely get anything out of it.
At this point, you may have concluded LinkedIn isn't a career changing online community.
...Before you give up on it, let me tell you something.
The sole purpose of LinkedIn is to help professionals (i.e. you) network and connect with other professionals.
If you feel like LinkedIn hasn't helped you connect with anybody, it's only because you haven't yet learned how to network on LinkedIn.
For example, imagine a woman who goes to a professional networking event. She doesn't know anyone, she's shy and doesn't know how to start a conversation. If she goes to the event and doesn't make eye contact with anyone and she doesn't say anything to anyone, she would spend the entire night not talking to a single soul.
She'd leave the event concluding, "Networking events don't work."
However, if she learned how to start conversations, felt comfortable making eye contact and buzzed around the room meeting new people, she'd leave the event with tons of business cards and one or two promising career opportunities.
Networking on LinkedIn is sort of like that. If you act like the shy, awkward person who doesn't say anything, you won't get anything out of it. But if you learn how to work the room (or rather work the online community) your career prospects are infinite.
That's why in today's blog post, I'm going to share the first 5 steps to becoming highly connected on LinkedIn and getting career changing opportunities.
Step 1: Get a professionally done high res photo
Your profile photo speaks thousands of words about who you are, what you do and how professional you are.
When someone comes across your profile for the first time, they don't know you. It's not like meeting you in person. They can't ask you questions, they can't hear your voice and they haven't been introduced to you.
But they're curious and they wish they could learn a bit about you.
The first place they go to learn about you is your profile photo. They want to look at your face.
Professionally shot portrait photos are amazing because they show who you are in a way you're proud of and want to be reflected online.
Think about it... the top LinkedIn influencers whether it's Arianna Huffington, Guy Kawasaki, Jessica Alba, Richard Branson, or even Rachel Zoe, they all have professional looking LinkedIn profile photos.
So why don't you?
You don't need to be a celebrity to get this done. Simply find a photographer and book a personal branding photoshoot. Use the images for your LinkedIn profile, as your bio photo for when you're speaking at events and for your website.
STEP 2: Write and share your elevator pitch
People want to connect with people who'll benefit them.
So if you'd like people to want to connect with you, show them why you'll benefit them.
This is why writing an elevator pitch is AMAZING. In a few words, you tell people who you are, what you do, the types of companies and challenges you work on, and the results you help companies achieve.
Once you've written your elevator pitch, you can write a shorted version in your headline and place a full version in your summary.
If someone was impressed by your profile and they liked your headline, you've gotten them interested in connecting with you!
STEP 3: Be searchable and credible
Now that your profile is looking good, you're ready to be discovered.
To get influencial people to discover you, fill in your profile (particularly your summary and work experience sections) with keywords that reflect what you do and what you're an expert at.
Anytime a recruiter is headhunting candidates for a specific role, they specifically search for people that have a shortlisted number of keywords on their profile. If you choose words recruiters are typically looking for, you'll come up.
And even if you aren't looking for a job, anytime an influencial person visits your profile, they'll scan your profile to see if you have the skills they're looking for in someone they want to connect with.
The more relevant your skills are to the people you want to work with, the more credible your profile looks and the more in demand you'll be.
STEP 4: Be social
Instead of being the creep who watches what people are doing, but says nothing and contributes nothing, be a genuine community member.
Reply to peoples status updates and blog posts. Write your own status updates and blog posts. Find forums to join on LinkedIn and when people ask for questions, give your advice. Ask the community your own questions.
The more social you are, the more connections you'll make.
STEP 5: When someone connects, don't just accept
This final step is so so so so so, did I soooo, important.
DO NOT IGNORE ALL REQUESTS.
You don't have to know everyone in person to accept their request. The whole point of LinkedIn is for you to connect with new professionals. And the more welcoming you are, the more life changing connections you'll make.
DO NOT ACCEPT REQUESTS AND THEN DO NOTHING.
This is sort of like someone asking for your email, sending you an email and you not replying. Sorry to say this, but that's pretty rude and unsocial.
Whenever you accept a request, be friendly and inviting. Write a note to say "Thanks for the request. I like to know everyone I'm connected with on LinkedIn. I'm curious to know, what inspired you to reach out?"
I've been doing this for over a year, and it's been amazing to see firstly why people are connecting with me. But more importantly, what kind of relationship they want to build and what mutually beneficial interaction we can have.
If you want to make career changing connections on LinkedIn, the easiest way to do this is to nurture and develop those relationships as soon as they start. You'll be surprised by how close you'll get to people.
I'd love to know what you think. What tip do you have for people who want to make connections on LinkedIn? Leave a comment below. My blog is read by thousands of readers and your comment could make a difference to someone else's life.