3 steps for setting up and utilizing LinkedIn connections

This is the third installment in the helpful advice from Andrea Carroz and Erica Hernandez about making the most of your LinkedIn profile. Previously, they wrote guest posts on:

9 steps for creating your LinkedIn profile

Improve your LinkedIn profile by listing coursework, describing work duties and joining professional groups

They were motivated to write these posts after attended a workshop on LinkedIn conducted by Carly Barnes, the social media manager in the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Administration’s Career and Leadership Programs Office.

by Andrea Carroz and Erica A. Hernandez

Now that we have covered the basics of setting up your profile on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, it is time to talk LinkedIn strategy. Similar with the real world, networking is very important in the online world of LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn connections are of the utmost importance.

Connection etiquette is a learned skill that is crucial to making the most of your LinkedIn profile and ultimately acquiring recommendations from those connections. LinkedIn also has a distinct feature: the ability to see who views your profile. That can be very useful if you are using your own profile correctly.

1. Making connections through LinkedIn

If you’re accustomed to sending friend requests via Facebook you will find that connecting through LinkedIn involves more than just a simple click of a button. The screen capture to the right, is an example of what a request page looks like.

To send a request, you must chose from categories meant to describe how you are connected to the person you would like to connect with — colleague, classmate, friend, business associate, etc. Whatever that relationship may be, it is important to add a personal note to your connection request.

Although LinkedIn provides a short standard note, it’s not exactly personal. If you already know the person you are trying to connect with, then write an actual personal note. A simple example would be this message —  “Hi Erica, we are both in Dr. Dodd’s Multimedia Writing class, and I was hoping we could connect on LinkedIn.”

If you are interested in connecting with a professional, such as a co-worker, boss or internship supervisor, remind him/her you how you know each other and give a brief reason of why you would like to connect with him/her. You don’t have to go into extensive detail or even make the note long. Keep it concise, professional and personal.

2. Requesting a recommendation

Now that your profile is complete and you have made those crucial connections, it is time to take your profile to the next level. To increase your appeal to future employers you should request a recommendation. This is a very important component to your LinkedIn profile as well as in your resume.

Remember to think wisely of whom you would like to ask to be a person who can recommend you. Ask a manager who noticed you were a good worker and have the skills needed for the job you may be looking for. Ask someone you feel has a good idea of your skills and potential and who can accurately convey them through a recommendation. What you want are those supervisors or bosses with whom you have a good professional relationship.

If you are a student and haven’t had a job, you could ask someone who knows you are responsible — your coach, your Scout leader or the person you babysit for. Do not ask a family member to recommend you, unless you’ve actually worked for that person.

Ask a professor or other faculty at your school. Make sure the professor knows you well enough to recommend you and be sure you have previously discussed this topic beforehand. That way they won’t be caught by surprise when they see your message from LinkedIn asking for a recommendation.

3. Using LinkedIn connections to network

Unlike other social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook, LinkedIn offers the somewhat controversial feature of being able to see exactly who views your profile. This feature extends both ways though. The same way you can see who has viewed your profile others can see if you have viewed theirs.

With that in mind, it is a good idea to view your colleagues’ profiles and connect with them. It is also recommended to view profiles of professionals in jobs you would like to have one day. There is no limit to the LinkedIn profiles you can view. Just keep in mind that your activity isn’t private.

This feature is great because it allows you to see who has viewed your profile, and it gives you the ability to follow up with those who have especially if they are recruiters, prospective employers or even employees at a company you are interested in.

Thanks to Andrea and Erica for sharing helpful advice about LinkedIn!

What advice do you have for setting up a LinkedIn profile or utilizing the networking ability of LinkedIn?

2 comments

  1. […] 3 steps for setting up and utilizing LinkedIn connections Improve your LinkedIn profile by listing coursework, describing duties, and joining professional groups […]

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  2. […] 3 steps for setting up and utilizing LinkedIn connections […]

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