With more than 575 million users on LinkedIn, growing a LinkedIn network is a tactical process. If you’re undergoing a job search, that means adding valuable connections and engaging with them to build a strategic network that will get you seen and noticed by key company decision-makers.
In the first month of your job search, you should be heavily focused on building your network (in addition to applying for jobs). Statistics show that more than 70% of jobs are acquired through active networking.
You should have at least 100 LinkedIn connections to begin an effective job search. The views on your profile will be limited and your research capabilities will also be limited if you have below 50 connections. At minimum, have several hundred connections so that you are continuing to build and tapping into larger networks.
Think about this scenario: You used to work with Judy at your old company in the operations segment. Judy has a network of 2,500+ on LinkedIn, and she’s connected to key business leaders at companies you’re targeting (Google, Amazon, Microsoft). If you’re not already connected with Judy, do so, but take it a step further and engage with her – via her own content, content she comments on, and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself via a personalized message to let her know that you’re targeting roles at the above-mentioned companies and would love to know if she has any insights for you. You’re now tapping into Judy’s network as well.
Here are people you should be connecting with and following on LinkedIn if you’re a job seeker:
- Former co-workers and high-ranking executives at prior companies
- Industry executives and leaders who run the companies you’re targeting
- Industry professionals and individuals in roles you’re targeting
- Recruiters in your niche as well as trained and certified coaches (they often post career advice and new job opportunities)
- Leaders and members of associations and organizations you’re affiliated with
- College and graduate school alumni
- Individuals who hold the same certifications or license as you (or certifications/programs you’re targeting)
- Targeted companies you want to apply to and industry organizations (they will share new position openings)
- Publications that share industry insights
- Industry groups
Example of what to do: If you’re a sales account executive, you should be connecting with other sales account executives who are in your geographic area (and across the globe) as well as in your niche focus or sector (ex: retail or consumer goods). Connect with those who are heavily involved in industry-related organizations such as the National Retail Federation. You can also tap into local Chambers of Commerce and other industry associations within your state or city. By zeroing in on your niche and industry, your search capabilities will be more targeted, you will be more apt to see opportunities posted in these industries, and you will have a robust network to tap into for the job search.
To some, LinkedIn is a numbers game of acceleration of connections, followers, likes, or content views. Always focus on quality over quantity when it comes to networking. You want the right people connected to you, and the right people in your network.
Have additional questions about building your LinkedIn connections when conducting a job search? Feel free to reach out and ask me.