How to use LinkedIn to Build Meaningful Relationships

LinkedIn has made building relationships with other professionals easier than ever before. It has provided a platform to build your professional brand and learn from other professionals you admire. There is an art to building a fruitful network on LinkedIn. It’s important to be intentional about the relationships you add to your network. At the same time, I understand the challenges of just getting started. Let’s break that down right now.

Alumni and Peers

The easiest way to build meaningful relationships on LinkedIn is to start with your circle of influence. That means connecting with students in your student organization, campus leaders and other proactive students on campus. Be mindful of the people you send a request to. This is not a popularity contest nor is it Facebook. Keep your network strong by only accepting requests from people who take care of their LinkedIn profile.

The basic characteristics of a good profile are a professional profile picture, clean URL, and completed experience descriptions. Your LinkedIn network can be a very valuable resource if you take care of it. Being selective about whom you connect with will maintain the quality of your network.

Connecting with recent alumni is also an easy way to grow your network. Recent alumni are more likely to accept your request, but be strategic. You’re always more likely to have your requests accepted if you add a personalized note with your request.

Professors/Faculty

Professors and Faculty members had a life before academia (and probably still do). Chances are your professors have something they do on the side in addition to their career as an educator. Take a look at their LinkedIn profile. If you like what you see, then send a request. If you left a good impression in class, they’ll probably accept. To be on the safe side, add a customized note- especially if it’s been a while since you had a class with this professor.

With that being said, you don’t have to send a request to every professor you have ever had. If your professor doesn’t use LinkedIn or had a poor profile, it’s okay to not send a request.

Industry Professionals

Before you start sending random LinkedIn requests, try to find industry professional with a second degree of connection. That means that somebody in your network knows this person and can offer an introduction. This can make sending a request less awkward.

If no relationship exists, be intentional about the requests you send out. If you send out too many random requests, LinkedIn will flag your account. If you’re sending a request cold, try to communicate the value you add to their profile in your LinkedIn note.

Learn how to use LinkedIn to plan your career

Final note

Always be cognizant of how you present yourself on LinkedIn. You always want to put your best foot forward. LinkedIn is your online professional brand. If you invest time and effort into growing that brand, it can serve you very well later on in your career when you’re looking for new opportunities. There’s an old saying that it’s not what you know that matters but who. Well, LinkedIn can help you make sure that each person you know is a value added to your brand.

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I get it. Introducing yourself can still be awkward especially when you’re just getting started. Use this PDF as a guide on how to introduce yourself and build new professional relationships.

Did you know you can use LinkedIn to revamp your resume and plan your career? LinkedIn can also help you land your next internship and transition to a new industry! Check out my articles to learn how.

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