How to go about networking on LinkedIn

Friday June 04 2021
Linked pic

Someone you greatly admire in your field has just accepted your connection request on LinkedIn. The excitement of what this might herald is palpable. Heck, this could be the key to your next big break! But before you jump in and give the wrong impression of yourself, here are some tips on how to network on that site like a pro.

1: Great subject line
Once they have accepted your connection request, write a thank you note. Just a few lines detailing a genuine reason you connected with them on the professional site can help you capture their attention. Remember to add context to your message. If you did not meet them in person, make reference to something genuine –an article they authored which you found insightful, a TV appearance or a recommendation by a friend. Something short and respectful such as: It was a pleasure meeting you at last week’s luncheon. I am excited to connect with you here.

2: Introduce yourself properly
Again, be brief. Go straight to highlighting the commonalities between you and your connection and try to establish a relationship that is both professional and personal. For example: “My name is Adams. I am an IT specialist looking to build a solid career. I notice that like me, you also started your career at XYZ Company. I am excited to learn more about your journey.”

Getting personal too soon, for instance by asking the contact why he left the organization, may be a bad idea. Instead, ask what they are passionate about in the field and how their understanding of the field has evolved over the years.


3: Do not ask for help, yet
While you may have a specific goal in mind that you would like the contact to help you with, if you ask for a favour in the first message, you risk coming across as a user. Use all the creative and critical skills you have to conjure an appropriate request that isn’t off putting. For example, instead of saying, “Great to connect with you. I would like you to be a guest speaker at an event I am organising,” try, “Great to connect with you. I know you are passionate about women empowerment and I am currently putting together an event on that. I would like to discuss more with you at your soonest availability”.

4: Offer to help
By the time you make that important connection, chances are you have taken a good amount of time scrutinising the individual and his activities. If you notice they are putting together something that you have skills for and some time, volunteer to help. Doing this will make you more valuable to them and may boost your chances of building that network.