Social Enterprise

Four ways to grow your LinkedIn network

Here are some ways to grow your LinkedIn network.

Here's an interesting tidbit: According to Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies, the magic number of LinkedIn connections is 143. Apparently, if you have fewer than that you're not going to have second- or third-degree connections in any of the companies you want to work for.

So how do you grow your LinkedIn network? Here are four ways:

  1. Import your email addresses from Gmail, Hotmail, etc., and invite the contacts to connect. If you use a desktop e-mail client, you can click on Import your desktop email contacts and upload the file to LinkedIn.
  2. Mine your classmates. On the Add connections page, you'll see a tab called Classmates. Clicking this will bring up colleagues based on the schools you have listed in your profile. You can sort by graduation year as well.
  3. Colleagues. Using this tab you can find people who work or worked at the companies you have indicated in your Experience section. You can scroll through the list and connect with anyone you recognize.
  4. People you may know. This tab is an extension of the box you see when you first log in. Based on the information in your profile, LinkedIn will make a guess on other people you may know and lets you send an invitation to connect.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

4 comments
kjohnson
kjohnson

In the days when nobody nagged unemployed people into volunteering for anything, the fact that, say, a candidate had spent every week-end for five years cleaning carriages, shovelling coal and greasing the points and signals on a preserved railway was a reasonable indication that the candidate was interested in railways. Similarly, a candidate who had spent some months helping cook and clean in an Old Persons Home for no money was evidencing concern and commitment for old people. However, forcing (or even just recommending) a young person to work without pay on a preserved railway, or anywhere else, "because it will look good on your CV," does not provide evidence that the person is interested in anything. All it does is provide some free labour for the employer, which is a wholly undesirable end product. In most circumstances, voluntary labour and "internships" are illegal in Scotland and the Department of Work and Pensions usually prosecutes offending companies. The penalties sadly do not include being shot, whipped and then secured in the stocks for a fortnight, but they're still moderately unpleasant if you're the one being sentenced to them.

tom.leverenz
tom.leverenz

I have my own list. Do the above things but then do some of these below. 1. Always carry business cards. I even carry them when I go out on my bike and have given them away to another biker. 2. Carry blank business cards to collect names from other people that might not have business cards so they can give you their information to invited them to LinkedIn. 3. Develop a job seekers helpful handout with your contact information on it so people can invite you to their LinkedIn. 4. Be helpful to others less experienced in Job Search than you are, so that you have credibility and they want to link to you to continue to get your help. 5. At any meeting you attend, sit with people you dont know, pass out contact information and collect business cards. Then send out invitations to LinkedIn within 24 hours of meeting the person so that they remember you and will accept your invitation. 6. Volunteer! And be sure to let your co-volunteers and the beneficiaries of your efforts know youre looking for a new Opportunity to contribute. Then distribute and collect business cards. Comments on Job competition There will always be job competition. Some will win and some will lose but if you dont play you are sure to lose. I teach people that doing a good job and being able to verbalize how you did that job, is only one third of the game. You also need to know people who can help you meet people who need your skills. The third component is one of the most important things. What really matters is not who you know but who knows you and your work. As an example you know who the president is but he probably does not know you or your work. Knowing him does not help you. Having him, and others, know you is what might be helpful to your search.

kjohnson
kjohnson

There's an underlying misconception here. It's true that people who want to work in, say, the market gardening sector and who have a number of contacts in the market gardening industry are at an advantage over people who want to work in the market gardening sector who don't have any contacts in the market gardening industry. This is true only because most people don't have any contacts in market gardening. A social network will confer an advantage on you only while it is small. If everybody belongs to a large social network, then the network won't benefit any of them. If everybody "knows" everybody else in some sense, then knowing the CEO of Prodco won't give you any advantage over anyone else who might want to work there. Knowing the CEO of Prodco confers an advantage on you only if nobody else who wants to work there knows him (her.) The government here (Scotland) does not understand this, insisting that training young people to write CVs, perform well in interviews, or read, will enable them to get jobs. In reality the problem is that hundreds of thousands of jobs have been exported to sweat shops in China in the unlikely hope that customers won't notice. Of course, having a good CV only helps a young person to get a job for as long as most unemployed young people have bad CVs. If everyone has a good CV, or is party to a big social network, then neither the CV nor the network are of any use if finding a job. The solution is to create more jobs in Scotland. You can create more jobs in Scotland if you ban outsourcing (under the anti slavery laws and by a small extension of the minimum wage laws) and discourage imports of goods traditionally made in Scotland. Can you imagine that Tartan Bitter beer is manufactured off shore now? What a disgrace. Next up: The Olympics 2012. How you can help everyone in a crowded stadium to see the action by giving each of them a strong wooden box to stand on.

barg8
barg8

After exhausting 1-3, 4 can be continually mined by joining groups. Linkedin will begin adding "people you may know" from the groups. You can invite contacts from groups by indicating that you "know" that person in the drop down menu in the invitation dialog. 4b. Connect with LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers). They generally accept invitations from everyone. Their connections are mined by the "people you may know" function. It's better is you pick one from your field. 5. Participate in the discussion groups. You will begin to receive invitations to connect.