You may not need this article if you are naturally bubbly and geeky. However, stick around if you feel awkward talking to strangers, even if only online on LinkedIn. This blog post will teach you exactly how to let LinkedIn do the heavy lifting in terms of networking.
We will cover:
- How your LinkedIn profile should look like to attract the eyes of recruiters
- How to find future prospects
- How to write an outreach message that doesn't sound like spam
How your LinkedIn profile should look
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Would you respond to a LinkedIn message by someone with no photo and barely any information for relevant expertise?
First, you must have a high-quality, high-resolution professional headshot.
Why is this so important? Your picture is the first thing everyone looks at when they check your profile. We are visually conditioned. With a pro photo, you can immediately command respect and attract people to find out more about you.
Once this is taken care of, the following sections are a must, too:
- Headline- sell your top talents in five to ten words;
- Background picture- accentuate your professional interests with it;
- LinkedIn summary - packed full of your achievements and certificates;
- Current job role;
- Work experience - detailed, like on your Resume;
- Volunteering and hobbies;
- Minimum five skills- endorsed by others;
- Minimum four references - to befriend the LinkedIn algorithm;
- Vibrant Featured section - present your research, articles, awards, interviews, video resume, or a promo video of your products and services.
On top of these, you must construct a habit of regularly posting insightful content for your network. That will help you establish yourself as a seasoned expert in your field. By the way, that means not just sharing any motivational new-age tip everyone else posts, but strategically planning content that will benefit others.
So if you still think a LinkedIn revamp is needless, you might want to reconsider that thought. Moreover, you've most likely seen one of those polished LinkedIn profiles that inspire you to contact the owner immediately, as they are beyond impressive.
However, if you still don't get enough or any inbox messages on LinkedIn, stick around for the next part - discovering and messaging the right people.
How to find future prospects?"?
Most people add mutual connections and, blow up their networks to 2000 or 3000 people. However, that approach would not bring you very far if these are not the right connections with decisive power or leadership potential.
You have probably heard of the S.M.A.R.T. model in goal setting, which says that any new aim must be Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Results-, and Time-oriented. If you aim to transform your LinkedIn networking into key stakeholder building and ultimately into successful new ventures or high-profile jobs, your networking should also be S.M.A.R.T.
It doesn't matter how extensive your network is, but WHO is in it and HOW well you leverage your contacts' potential. We offer you a bullet-proof roadmap to easily command success via intelligent networking.
1 – Make comprehensive research of your field and pick the top 10 leading organizations that set industry trends; 2 – Write a list of the Top 30 organizations you would like to work for or partner with;
At first, this may seem like an impossible task, but be assured that you will love it with time. Plus, you will get much more clarity into what you want and where you belong and ultimately become more positively driven in your networking.
3 – Contact two persons on LinkedIn who already work for these companies
If that sounds overwhelming, aim to distribute it in 3-4 months, but do not stretch it too much in time. On the other hand, try to be driven and time-bound - after all, you have a goal attached to your networking.
Moreover, 2 x 30 equals 60 - so, you will have 60 possible networking conversations in less than six months.
If you think six months is too long, consider how long it actually feels to stay at a job you hate.
4 – Do not just click the "Add connection" button. Instead, write a warm, upbeat, and engaging message.
Of course, you can not expect everyone to have the desire or time to connect, talk to you, or even reply. And that is ok - the way to overcome it is to assume it is normal and keep linking to as many meaningful, well-targeted connections as possible.
So how do you get a maximally high response rate to your outreach messages?
How to write the perfect outreach message
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So you revamped your LinkedIn, made your list of TOP 30 companies, and regularly posted valuable content. Maybe you are unsure if you should stay or quit your job** **and are curious about the LinkedIn potential in your situation. Then what? How do you start the actual networking?
There are a few simple but rock-solid rules you need to follow.
- Target key decision makers or other experts who are in close stakeholder relationship with them;
- Position yourself as a knowledgeable expert, bringing lots of value;
- Do not sound desperate - even though you may be in a desperate situation;
- Do not state immediately you need a job and chase them like your golden hen;
- Be genuinely interested in connecting to them;
- Make the primary focus of your message professional ideas exchange, rather than obtaining tangible short-term goals. Those will come sooner or later if you establish a positive rapport and build trust;
- Be proactive and without fear of rejection - offer a short get-together call or a meeting for business lunch if you are in the same city;
- Offer something in return that you know will be of high value to this contact - link to a workshop recording, upcoming conference, or latest research on a topic of interest;
- Last but not least - avoid contacting HRs, as in most cases, they are not the primary decision-makers, and even if they were, they are so busy that they would only get frustrated to see yet another in-mail from an unknown contact.
Successful networking scenarios can vary by the numbers. For example, if you’re looking for a new job, you can do both direct or indirect networking.
Opt for the direct one if you are lucky enough to know someone who works there or have a mutual connection with an employee from your target company. Even better, if this contact is in a top management position, you can ask your network connection to introduce you or refer you to them.
Alternatively, in indirect networking, you work your way up to the right contact by browsing unknown professionals who work in your desired company. Then get in touch with those in a similar position or occupying a role you would like. But, again, do not drop the bomb "I need a job" straight away. Instead, as a reason for the contact, you can state that you like their company and would love to learn more about what it is to work there. See how much more different, friendly, and non-pushy this sounds? Not only will you flatter them that you seek their opinion, but you will also get a whole bunch of invaluable insider info straight from the organization's kitchen. At the end of the conversation, you can ask them if they can refer you to speak to someone else in the company.
Now let's practice your outreach skills!
How to reply to an outreach message?"?
Here is an example of a reply to an outreach message you got. And - yes, when you follow all Enhancv tips and tricks, you can rest assured you will get plenty of those InMails. So be prepared and check how you can respond to them:
"Hi, Miguel! What a pleasure to connect! I'm absolutely excited about D&I you do at TexterPower and would be curious to chat soon to discuss these so important topics further, exchange ideas, and more! Thanks for connecting, and have a great day, Sabrina."
How to sell via LinkedIn networking?
(H.R. Software product - notice how it doesn't go directly onto selling)
"I see that your passion lies in enabling a positive and healthy work environment, where employees can be themselves, be engaged and perform at their best, Patricia. Sounds like fascinating work. I'd love to hear some more about it. And it's nice to meet you digitally."
How to find a collaboration partner?
"Hi, Thomas! I hope you're doing great! I'm following a Diversity diploma scholarship at The A.R.L.T. Foundation in The Hague! Since I've always been attracted to NATO's mission and values, I chose to orient my A.R.L.T. assignment on Talent development towards your organization. I researched thoroughly and prepared a presentation with some innovative T.A. ideas. It may be productive and exciting to meet and discuss those. Would you be able to find some minutes out of your schedule to have a quick call on that topic? Thank you very much. Looking forward to hearing from you, Maria."
In this article, you learned how networking is a two-way street; you need to offer value in return to your prospect connections. It is a "give and take." Make that central in your business relationship building, and of course - do not forget to have fun!
Following Enhancv's all-around expert tips, you will land dream jobs or new projects and create a solid professional network that constantly has your back.
Make one that's truly you.