I don’t stick to the rule of knowing the other people deeply and personally before reaching out. Sometimes, I send invites to people who are in my field, that I know from around the news, but who aren’t personal friends or contacts. Yet. So suffice to say, I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn.
I’ve noticed that not all profiles are created equal. Some lack easy ways to connect to the person. Others are really incomplete. Here’s what I think you might consider doing and why;
1. Add your email address to your last name- For someone to connect to you without directly knowing you, they need to present your first and last name, as well as a valid email address. Make it easier by turning the last name field of your profile into your last name and then your email address (example: Alvin(firstname.lastname@example.org)). This gives folks an easier path to connecting.
2. Fill out your profile- First, some people search profiles for keywords, so make sure the words you hope people are seeking when they think of you exist inside your profile. Use real captivating words up front, not like a resume or CV, but instead, like an advertisement for you, because that’s what LinkedIN is!
3. Solicit colleagues and friends for recommendations- People love to read reviews. We do it for books at Amazon. We do it for movies at IMDB or Netflix. Make sure you’ve got some great recommendations for the world you’ve performed. Don’t be afraid to solicit recommendations. I’ve run little campaigns where I offer a recommendation in return for every one written about me. That stacked up fast. The trick is: write what you truly feel about the person in the nicest possible terms, and never oversell someone you don’t recommend. That can come back to bite you.
4. Add plenty of passion- People who are going to bother to read your profile want to know what makes you tick. If you merely put down that you’re an operations manager at a mid-tier tech company, that’s all they have in their minds about you. Add that you’re passionate about Greek wines and that you take Improv class weekly in Dubai. Make sure people know about YOU, not just your job history.
5. Ask and answer questions- Using the Answers feature brings your name and profile around to people you’re not exposed to directly. This means more opportunities for someone to recognize your authority in some field, and to reach out and contact you for something further. It means sharing the fruits of your networking with others, and potentially connecting 3rd parties to each other for something bigger. This comes in handy when it becomes obvious that you’re also a good connector.
The trick of it all is that you get out of LinkedIN what you put in. If you throw up a profile that roughly covers the details, and barely populates the profile with much of interest, you’ll likely not get connections beyond former coworkers looking to hitch their debris to yours. Should you be seeking to cast a net, develop relationships, and eventually find other opportunities through LinkedIN, you’ll want to put a little more effort into the site.