W1siziisijiwmtgvmdgvmtmvmtqvmtgvndqvodq4l0xpbmtlzeluie5ldhdvcmtpbmcgcmvlc21hcnggsm9iifnlyxjjac5qcgcixsxbinailcj0ahvtyiisijgwmhg2ntbcdtawm2mixv0

How to Activate Your Professional Network on LinkedIn for Career Advancement

LinkedIn, Networking, Careers...

Do you have a job, or do you feel you are engaged in building a meaningful career within an industry you love?  When busy professionals take the time to create interesting blog articles for LinkedIn Pulse, they are demonstrating that drive to advance within their career, by keeping up with changes, innovations and new trends that impact their employer, business or sector.

Sign up for email alerts or content aggregation software, that can collect news (specific to your target industry) so that you can find interesting articles to share.   Many social media scheduling software providers also include a native content aggregate for their users. 

Before you do that, make sure your LinkedIn profile meets the ‘All Star’ criteria, meaning that you have completed all sections.  Articles published on LinkedIn Pulse are circulated for sharing relevant industry news, and to highlight innovative professionals.  Make sure that readers find an impressive LinkedIn profile to review, should they wish to learn more about the article author.

Here are three other effective ways and proven tactics that you can use to grow your professional network on LinkedIn.

1. Follow Groups and Thought Leaders in Your Industry

LinkedIn recommends adding only individuals who you have worked with, supervised or been managed by in a professional setting.  But most professionals use the world’s largest business network to actively meet other career leaders, organizations, recruiters and mentors.  That means staying on top of all those connection requests on LinkedIn, while scrutinizing the individuals you invite to stay connected and share with on a weekly basis.

Consider a personalized-criteria for accepting connection requests on LinkedIn.  Expanding your business network through LinkedIn is most valuable, if you focus on connecting with individuals who:

  • Have worked with you in the same organization
  • Have directly supervised or managed you in current, or past roles
  • Professionals who are employed within the same niche sector or career scope
  • Companies and LinkedIn Groups that share frequent discussions about trends and insights regarding the field that you are employed in

Before adding a new professional to your LinkedIn network, spend some time looking at their profile.  Do they share regularly and are they engaged in business discussions?  Do they have relevant or interesting skills, endorsements and groups that are of interest to you?  If so, hit the checkmark to add them to your network.  If you do not see their work experience and skills to be of interest or value for your needs, it’s acceptable to decline an invite as well.

Every once in awhile someone extraordinary will send an invite request.   If their profile makes a big impression, and they have potential to introduce you to other executives or organizations you are interested in, send them a brief note when you accept their invitation. Keep it to 3 sentences at maximum to introduce yourself and highlight how your work experience aligns with the individual’s industry or career.   It’s a professional gesture that can help your own expertise and transferrable skills get noticed.

2. Comment Share and Like Posts

If you would like to stimulate more conversations in LinkedIn with your network, make sure to frame your posts in a way that encourages that participation.  Share your insight and article link (or graphic) and complete the post with a question and invitation to comment.

Responding to the comments that other professionals make on your LinkedIn post is an excellent opportunity to meet and add new people to your growing network.  But remember to make time to also ‘like’ and comment on posts that are shared by others.  Not only will you be actively keeping tabs on changes and growth in your industry, but employers and recruiters may view that attentiveness and engagement as a positive attribute; people who are committed to their profession, are active in conversations and shared insights by other professionals on LinkedIn.

2. Make It a Habit to Invite Others to Connect on LinkedIn

There are many opportunities to expand your network on LinkedIn, simply by inviting people you work with or meet to follow you. Add your personal LinkedIn profile below the signature line of your email and provide a hyperlink to make it easy for everyone you correspond with, to review your credentials, employer and peer recommendations and your professional portfolio. 

When concluding a personal meeting, ask if the individual would like to stay connected on LinkedIn.  It takes less than a minute to send them an invitation on your smartphone, and it makes a big impression if you have spent the necessary time grooming your LinkedIn account.

Utilize the business cards you collect at a job fair, conference or convention, by looking up the professionals on LinkedIn and sending a connection request.  It makes a positive impression.

Don’t forget to respond to and thank people who do accept your invitation request on LinkedIn.   While spam or solicitations on LinkedIn messenger are a growing problem (don’t feel compelled to respond to that type of query), the key to creating an engaged and meaningful online network is to remain polite, professional and responsive to messages you receive from your network.

 

Make LinkedIn networking a daily task that you do first thing in the morning (perhaps while you are grabbing a cup of coffee).  These activities can take less than five minutes per day but will noticeably improve the engagement and value of your professional network on LinkedIn.