Can this be a useful networking site? Consider these statistics:
- All 500 of the Fortune 500 are represented on LinkedIn.
- 499 of the Fortune 500 are represented by director-level and above employees.
- More than 1.4 million members identify themselves as senior executives.
- Most members are between 30 and 55 years old.
- The average user is a 41-year-old, white collar professional, earning $109K a year.
- Check LinkedIn daily. Just like email, it’s a good idea to see what is new in your network.
- Upgrade to paid service. You should consider upgrading from free to the first-level of paid service so you can connect with people in the network directly, rather than wait weeks or month for an introduction and referral.
- Create a meaningful profile. You need to create a profile that is akin to your resume so that you can connect with people who share your background or who are looking for someone with your skills and experience.
- Collect recommendations. Recommendations are like good references after an interview; they increase your credibility, and will make it more likely for a viewer to contact you.
- Do not limit your search. It’s easy to want to focus your search on decision makers, but chances are that you’ll lose the opportunity to effectively network if you limit yourself to them. Reach out to people that share common interests, background, or schools. They are more likely to feel connected to you and to want to help you or respond to your inquiries.
- Do not limit your invitations. You need to gather contacts of the people you already know, and those you do not. Invite every person you meet you join your LinkedIn network, and accept the invitation of others freely.
- Join groups to enhance your profile. You can join a variety of groups on LinkedIn, from alumni groups to faith groups. The key to groups is to gain new connections, and to enhance your profile so that others can identify you.
Also, make sure you give back. Rather than ask for help, volunteer your own and let people know what you have to offer. Help others through referrals and recommendations, you will create goodwill and encourage people to help you in return.