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How do I make networking for me?
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It Is All About Networking

Using LinkedIn is now considered a standard way for professionals to make sure that you are discovered when it comes to job-hunting. Recruiters and employers check it all the time for highly qualified people. Like a resume, however, you do not want to simply use LinkedIn in the same way that everyone else does, or make the mistake of thinking that you will be seen just because you have a LinkedIn page. There are some powerful ways to make sure that you get noticed on LinkedIn, but it will take some work. Here are some things that you want to do on your LinkedIn page to ensure you take full advantage of – and have many people finding you through – the use of this great tool.

Take Full Advantage of the Basic Format

Instead of simply filling in the LinkedIn pages quickly, consider it a marketing piece about you that needs to be professionally done. Use each page and seek to get the best mileage from it by giving them the attention and professionalism needed for maximum benefit to the next stage of your career. n Choose a professional headline that describes what you do. Here is a good opportunity to promote what you do – and not just your name or title – to as many people as possible – a great personal branding opportunity. This headline will be displayed each time they search for you, and it will also reveal what you do in language designed to attract.

  • Fill in the whole profile. Remember that the more information that you have posted about you, the more likely it will be that people can find you through searches. You do not want to leave blanks, but you do want to write your words as a well-written marketing piece about you, your talents and experience, and what services you are offering.
  • Get a professional recent picture. If you do not have one, potential bosses are going to wonder what you’ve got to hide. On the other hand, if you are professional then you already know you should have one – and one that is recent, too. If you are applying for a job, then you will probably need to meet face-to-face anyway – it’s good to let people see who you are before you meet – as it makes for a friendlier first introduction.
  • Take advantage of the Status Update. Just how you use this option will vary from one person to the next, but you still will want to use it to maximum advantage. You might use it to show your current projects, to show new certificates you are working on earning, to direct people to a recent blog post, or to announce something new – it should be something of importance to you, but still of interest to those who might want to contact you about a job.

Enhance Your LinkedIn Pages for Maximum Performance

Take each page to the next step, making it easier for the search engines to find you – by using key words about what you do. These tips will help more people find you. Use SEO throughout your LinkedIn pages. People are
going to find you while searching by using keywords. Take full advantage of this and give them plenty to find. Don’t overuse them, but you may want to be sure that you have important keywords in there related to what you do – or want to do. In order to be found even easier, be sure to take advantage of the Summary section and use as much of the space permitted as possible – up to 2,000 characters.

Making New Contacts Is Very Important

One of the most powerful features of LinkedIn is the contacts that you can obtain through it. You do not want this feature to go unused as you search for a new job or for business clients. Keep on expanding your list of contacts. If you do not have much of a list, says Susan Adams in a blog post for Forbes, the result of your searches may not be able to produce the kind of results you want. The more people you are connected to, the better results that you can expect and possibly the more doors there could be open to you.

  • Another very good reason to keep on making new contacts at LinkedIn is because it may reveal more than you want to reveal to a potential recruiter or employer. Greg Koutsis, who is the corporate and international channel recruiter for Aplicor LLC, makes this comment about it: “if someone has 20-50+ connections then I know they probably check LinkedIn at least once a week. If someone has 1-19 then I realize they probably either haven’t begun to pop the hood and look inside or gotten past the initial threshold of their friends, family and past colleagues. They might be a great prospect for me to reach out to but this might not be the best use of my time. This combined with the profile they have listed lets me realize quickly if I am wasting my time with someone who has no interest or trust in LinkedIn.”
  • Help others with their needs as you get the opportunity. Every now and then people might mention a new company looking to hire, or they might post or comment on something that you posted. Be sure to thank them and you will find that it is apt to keep the information flowing – which is what you want, says Lindsey Pollak in an article for LinkedIn.
  • When looking to discover how people were able to find new business through LinkedIn and write an article about it, LinkedIn and Cisco Webex contacted Ian Brodie, who is considered to be a LinkedIn expert. There were 256 responses to the survey. The largest number of answer indicated that the most new business was gained through making new connections. Right behind that, however, was the response that business was gained through reconnecting with old contacts. Obviously, making connections – new and old – is the key to using LinkedIn to the best advantage. Another interesting thing discovered in the survey was that most men made new connections, and most of the women reconnected with old ones.

Take a Proactive Position Regarding Your Employment

Find a LinkedIn Group to join and become active in it. There are many groups in LinkedIn and these provide information and help for others. It can also build your personal brand, says Ian Brodie, a LinkedIn expert, at his own Website. It will also establish you as an expert if you post often. Others will see your posts and may contact you for business. Look up companies by name. Lindsey Pollak, writing on LinkedIn’s blog, encourages you to look up every company you might be interested in working for. This will give you a list of people who work there – possibly giving you the edge you need to get the job you want. Don’t forget, though, she says, that you must know the person on LinkedIn, or know someone who knows them before you can make any contact. Some other things that will also add considerable value to your brand include:

  • Obtaining a personalized URL
  • Allow incoming mail
  • Add Webpage links with good descriptions
  • Get some recommendations from others posted on your page.

Finally, you want to stay on top of new ways to use LinkedIn. Social media is constantly changing, as well as the tools that each social media Website such as LinkedIn has to offer. Professionals continue to write about new ways – or better ways – to take advantage of such websites. You do not want to be found using a method that was popular three years ago when no one uses thatmethod today.

Resources:
Expert Tips For Using LinkedIn
http://www.forbes.com/2010/07/07/linkedin-advanced-tips-jobshiring-leadership-careers-networking.html

LinkedIn Profile Tips: The 10 Mistakes You Want to Avoid and Why
http://windmillnetworking.com/2009/08/11/linkedin-profile-tipsthe-10-mistakes-you-want-to-avoid-and-why/

What Do You Use Your LinkedIn Status Update For?
http://windmillnetworking.com/2009/04/06/what-do-you-useyour-status-update-for/

5 Ways to Make the Most of LinkedIn
http://blog.linkedin.com/2010/10/18/5-linkedin-tips/

How to Use Linkedin to win new business: poll results
http://www.ianbrodie.com/strategy/linkedin-win-new-businesspoll/

Eight Tips to Building a Better LinkedIn Profile
http://www.financial-planning.com/news/linkedin-socialmedia—2672100-1.html

Finding the right job today is much more involved than simply sending a resume – especially at the executive level. While it is certainly possible to get a job with an outstanding resume, recent months have seen many people with excellent skills being passed over - and often out of work for many months on end. In describing how things have rapidly changed, one writer at the New York Times, Farhad Manjoo, said: “Like everything else in business, the job-search process has undergone a revolution since the advent of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites.”

Sending a resume alone is not as important today as remembering that a live face, a friendly smile, and a warm heart may take you much further - and faster - in getting the job you want through old-fashioned networking. Incorporating the power of networking into your job search enables you to add leverage to your job hunt. It is also important to remember that a large portion of job opportunities never get advertised.

As a professional, you already know a lot of people – but it’s never too late to expand your network and benefit from a wider circle of contacts and friends. Imagine, as often said, that every person knows on average around 250 people. Even if you were to befriend just 50 new people this year, then through these 50 people, you might have the potential of contacting each of their 250 contacts, thereby multiplying your network to another 12,500 more people – many of whom could keep their eyes and ears open about a new job for you, if you will simply let them know you’re interested in being kept informed. Now consider if you get connected to “master networkers” like sales people, recruiters, and association leaders that you could see your potential source of contacts grow exponentially.  Certainly, such an army of referral sources could help you find out about many more opportunities than you could find on your own.

By taking time to actively network with a wide variety of people who are in the know, you greatly increase the possibility of finding the opportunities you want - possibly even before other candidates become aware of them. Much better than making a cold call, is when someone talks to a potential employer on your behalf in glowing terms – even before they see your resume!

Here is a look at some of the places that you certainly want to include in your search for quality networking opportunities.

Career Field Associations & Trade Shows

Focus on meeting people at association events, trade shows, symposiums, seminars, and the like – especially those that are within your career field, even better those that focus on a particular niche that you know well. This will put you in touch with people who will be aware of the moving and shaking that takes place in the industry where you are most qualified, enabling you to stay well informed of possible new opportunities and job openings.

LinkedIn

This social network is a powerful tool you need to use to help those great career opportunities find you. Posting solid and positive information about yourself and keeping your LinkedIn profile fresh and up to date is an essential key to any networking plan. Since many headhunters, recruiters, and HR professionals search LinkedIn for prospects, they should be able to find your name as well. LinkedIn also lists special networking meetings that you will want to attend. The Undercover Recruiter also strongly recommends that you get involved in groups and virtual discussions on LinkedIn to show your expertise, as well as get recommendations from others placed on your profile to greatly increase your visibility.

Vendors and Suppliers

These people are in touch with many companies in the same field as yours, and as a result they often know when there are vacancies in executive positions. Ideally these would be people that you have dealt with in the past. Contact them and let them know what you are interested in. If they are no longer there, introduce yourself to their replacements and offer to help them when they could use your assistance.

Competitors

You know who your present or past competitors were in the companies you worked for. Contact them about possible job opportunities. You never know; they may be very interested in someone with your qualities - especially if you can hit the ground running and will need less training than other candidates.


Customers

Chances are good that some of your customers are in touch with people in the know at other companies you may not even be aware of. Don’t overlook customers or the valuable information they may be able to provide. In fact, who knows, the hiring manager in one the companies you would like to work for may be networked to one of your favorite customers.

Business Networking Events

In most communities there are a number of events sponsored throughout the year that are created primarily for networking purposes. Business networking events are often sponsored by the different Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Groups, Executive Associations, Merchants Associations, business networks or industry groups. Networking meetings may also be held for special groups, like for women, investors, religious groups, job hunters, etc. Career organizations for job hunters like ExecuNet advertise that they have meetings in 50 cities in the US and Canada.

Other Job Seekers

In your job search, you will probably have contact with other executives who are also seeking new opportunities. Help them out - provide referrals to opportunities that aren’t right for you.  Helping them and regularly talking to them may enable you to learn about other opportunities or may simply help you learn some profitable job hunting tips - or where to go for even more networking contacts.

Contacts in Your Blackberry or Rolodex

It has probably taken you several years to build up your present list of contacts within Outlook, your Blackberry, or Rolodex. Now, put this list to use and contact these people again - letting them know of your interests - and rekindle that relationship with them, especially if it has been awhile since they last heard from you.

Maximize Those Daily Personal Encounters

You never really know whom you will happen to meet on the street, in the store, in a restaurant, or on the plane. Greet people, talk with them, and give them your business card. Start with a smile and then be a friend to people around you, as this can help you get your message out.  People like to help others.  Don’t be afraid to reach outside your comfort zone.

Continue to Learn Better and More Ways to Network

There are many books on the subject of networking and websites packed with information about networking tips. It’s always a good idea to continue to study and to be open to learning new and more powerful tips to stay ahead of the changing technological landscape.

In closing, it is important to remember what the definition of networking is: a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest. 

In an article called “Too late to network?” written in an Ask the Headhunter newsletter, Nick Corcodilos wrote this about networking: “Here’s the thing that confuses people and frustrates them: They think we network to get our next job. That’s absolutely wrong. We network to get smarter, to make new friends, to build our value and our credibility in our professional community, to help others, and to enjoy our work outside of the job. Job opportunities arise out of networking; they are not the reason to do it.”

Written in an article at Entrepreneur.com, Ivan Misner (founder of BNI.com, and often called the Father of Modern Networking) advises people of all ranks to constantly work at building a network – even when you are not looking for a job. He advises that you should practice to make a well-polished one-minute networking plug about yourself, to make it as effective and powerful as possible. He also adds that practice will enable you to be a better networker, and that you should be sure to offer value in return if you want the relationship to continue.

So happy hunting - the perfect opportunity for you could be just a contact or two away!

It Is All About Networking

Resources:

     
  1. http://www.business-networking-techniques.com/business-networking-events.html
  2.  
  3. http://www.execunet.com/m_aboutus.cfm
  4.  
  5. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/26/education/26SOCIAL.html
  6.  
  7. http://www.entrepreneur.com/marketing/networking/article192898.html

 

 
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