In my last post, “Setting Up Your LinkedIn Profile: Getting Started”, we talked about how your LinkedIn profile is a powerful tool to help you find an entry level job. In that post, I talked about how to put just enough content on your LinkedIn profile so that other people have a strong sense of what your career direction is and so that recruiters that are sourcing candidate profiles like yours start to recognize you.
The next step to getting your LinkedIn profile recognized is to start building connections. The more connections you have on LinkedIn, the more people you can see on LinkedIn and the more people can see you on LinkedIn. This will help expose you to more and more opportunities. Luckily, when you first join LinkedIn you can invite people you know that aren’t currently on LinkedIn. This can help you get started. You can also search for people that you know by name in the search box up at the top. You can also search company names in the search box to find other people that work at certain companies.
When you are first starting out, I would suggest that you connect with your family members, friends neighbors, class mates, former co-workers and people you have volunteered with or worked on community projects with. I would also try to connect with current co-workers. However, you have to be sure that you are careful here. Depending on your position and department, you can sometimes (unintentionally) make someone feel uncomfortable by trying to connect with them. If you are a manager, I would be very careful of trying to connect with your direct reports. I would just think about what type of relationship you have with your direct reports before asking them to connect. If you are unsure, then feel free to ask them if it is ok if you connect with them. The last thing you want to do is to make someone feel pressured into accepting your LinkedIn connection request. However, freely connect with all other people that you work with that you don’t directly manage.
As you continue to get your core group down, I would strongly suggest that you go to networking and other social events to meet people in your industry. In my later posts, I dive deeper into how to network and the overall power of networking. However, one of the great things about networking is that you get to meet people in your industry that could possibly introduce you to opportunities that you don’t currently have access to. By adding these people to your profile, you are opening yourself up not only to opportunities that they may know about, but also to opportunities that their LinkedIn connections may know about. I would strongly suggest that you consistently connect with everyone that you meet at these networking events on LinkedIn. You will be surprised by how quickly this will help build your following.
Another great way to build your LinkedIn profile connections is by joining LinkedIn groups. LinkedIn has a variety of groups. These groups include schools, companies, industries, communities, non-profits, causes, interests, etc. I would strongly suggest that you join your college’s group as that is an easy group to join that should have a number of people that can will be willing to connect with you. I would also suggest searching and finding 3-5 other groups that are related to your desired career path and that you connect with. For example, if you are an aspiring Project Manager, find a group that is specifically tailored towards Project Management individuals. I’m sure that there is a group out there full of individuals that are currently Project Managers that are more than happy to help you break into the field or advance your career. I would start off by reading and reacting to a variety of posts on the discussion boards. If there are certain people who post things that you really relate to, send them a connection request. In your note to them, briefly tell them how their post connected with you. I would also search the group members to see if there is anyone you already know that you can connect with. Be careful to not just invite everyone in the group to connect. LinkedIn could flag you which could inhibit your ability to connect with people in the future.
In conclusion, your LinkedIn profile is a powerful tool on the road to helping you find an entry level job. Building up your connections and joining different groups can greatly help you achieve this goal!