Creating a LinkedIn profile is easy – knowing who to add and how to build your network and connections is the hard part.
Building an ideal network on LinkedIn takes time, persistence and patience. But once you create a great network of contacts, you’ll find LinkedIn will be one of your most valuable social media platforms and resources.
So where do you start when building an ideal LinkedIn network? Here are some tips.
Who to add
Knowing who to add is the most important thing to consider when building any network – however, it’s a critical aspect when it comes to LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a professional hub, and your connections are a representation of you. Only connect with people that you feel will represent you well if (and when) potential employers explore your profile.
If you are going to reach out to professionals you don’t personally know, make sure that you include a message with your invitation, so they understand why you have requested to add them.
Avoid adding people that have no significant value to you or your network. These people may be those that aren’t in your field, friends that you haven’t kept in touch with, and of course, people that you don’t know or trust. Always make sure that you skim the profile of each possible new connection, as this is a way to validate who they are, and why they are relevant to you.
What employers are looking for
Employers often look for mutual connections, and how you link back to them personally. It sets a common ground when an employer notices you have a connection in common.
They also want to see that you have worked to build your network. Profiles that only have minimal connections or no connections at all can raise a red flag. If you are going to be on LinkedIn, commit yourself to building your network, and keeping your profile updated, otherwise it’s almost better to stay off of it.
Not sure how to build your network or don’t know very many people on LinkedIn? Start with creating a great profile, sharing regular content, and getting involved in LinkedIn groups and company pages. You’ll notice your network will slowly begin to grow. And don’t forget to add all your colleagues from past jobs, or classmates and teachers from college or university.
Who to remove
LinkedIn is a professional network in comparison to Facebook. Who you have on LinkedIn is probably not necessarily who you have on your Facebook and vice versa. Keep your LinkedIn to your professional network and don’t be afraid to remove those connections you may not want to be associated with anymore.
Remove those that you haven’t stayed in touch with and aren’t sure what they are doing anymore professionally. Remove those that are inactive and haven’t updated their profiles in forever, and people that may have switched career paths and no longer seem to be relevant to your network or career anymore. The most important thing to remember is that you can’t worry about people being offended if you removed them. LinkedIn is a virtual resume, and if your connections seem to not be adding value to your professionally, there is really no point of being connected.
Once you have a great LinkedIn network you will begin to reap the rewards of networking, and connecting with others within your industry. LinkedIn is a great resource for anyone, but especially new grads with minimal experience, and not very many connections within the industry. LinkedIn can be your go-to spot for finding jobs, and building your professional reputation and network.