Now that you have completed the basic steps in freshening up your profile, it is time to generate some traffic and show it off! Let’s get some recommendations and get connected!
If you missed out on the first two posts of this three post series find them here:
6. Get Recommended
If you have looked for a new position in the past, chances are that you have had to reach out to previous managers and colleagues to see if you can use them as references. Reference checking is a vital piece of the recruiting process, as it gives employers the ability to ask direct questions about a candidate’s previous work experience.
LinkedIn offers a great feature that gives you the ability to have references and recommendations right on your profile. This is important, as it gives a personal touch to your page. Recommendations provide solid insight on your personality, work ethic, strengths, and your overall abilities. Essentially, when people recommend you, they are providing the same information that employers look for during a reference check. The beauty of having them on LinkedIn is that they are out in the open for employers to see, which could help increase your chances of being contacted for a position!
So how do you get recommended?
There are a few ways that to receive recommendations, but it is important to first decide who should be providing them. You will want to receive recommendations from people that you know well. This means that it should be managers or colleagues that you have worked closely with, who can speak to your work performance. You want to identify people who have not only enjoyed working with you, but were also pleased with your work product.
Once you have identified some good contacts, you can receive a recommendation by directly requesting one.
How to request a recommendation
To request a recommendation from a member’s profile page:
1. Navigate to the member’s profile page.
2. Click the “…” icon in the top section of the profile, to the right of the picture.
3. Select Request a Recommendation.
4. Fill out the Relationship and Position at the time fields of the recommendations pop-up window, and click Next.
5. You can change the text in the message field, and then click Send.
I suggest reaching out to these contacts prior to requesting the recommendation. By doing this, you will have a better success rate. A quick call or email to ask for their approval will go a long way, especially if you let them know that you are looking for a new position. They may even offer to be a reference for a potential employer to call! Either way, if you do receive a recommendation, be sure to send a note to say thanks!
Another easy way to get recommended is to recommend someone else. Look through your contacts to find current/past colleagues with whom you have worked closely, and write them a reference. The majority of the time, this will serve as a great incentive for your connection to return the favor.
To recommend a contact on LinkedIn, use the same steps from above, but instead of selecting request recommendation, choose “recommend”.
7. Connect Connect Connect
Do you remember that story that I told in Part 1, when a previous boss thought that increasing your LinkedIn network was a waste of time? The story actually goes on, as I had a contest with my co-worker to see who could hit the 500+ connection landmark first. I can’t remember who won, but there was a method to our madness! The reason for this story is that there are many advantages to continue to grow your LinkedIn network. Every time you connect with someone on LinkedIn, it expands your reach on many different levels.
As a job seeker, the most important reason to grow your network is to generate traffic to your page. In simple terms, this means that when you connect with more people, you will receive more visibility. Everyone has their own network, and when you connect with them, it makes your information visible to their contacts.
Chances are that when you add more connections, more people will reach out to connect with you. This could be old co-workers that you have forgotten about, or even prospective employers that are intrigued by your profile.
So who should I connect with?
It’s always great to start with people you know. Think back to past jobs, current colleagues, family, friends, etc., and search for them on LinkedIn. I recommend connecting with anyone that you know that has a professional background. Once you have found their profile, click “connect” to send them a connection request.
LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to add a note with your connection request, and I always recommend it. It gives it a nice personal touch, and if it has been a number of years since you have talked to that person, you can give them a reminder as to how you know them.
Another quick way to expand your network is to have LinkedIn do it for you. Click on “my network” in the main bar at the top of the page. In the sidebar bar on the left enter your email address, and LinkedIn will automatically search for any personal contacts that you have interacted with via email, and then add them to your network. This is a nice feature and a great, fast way to get started!
Once you have added a few connections, LinkedIn will start going to work for you to help grow your network. It will start identifying people that you may know,
based on similar connections. This is another great tool that you can use. Simply click on “my network” at the top of the page, and it will list connections that you may know. Feel fee to go through and press “connect” to quickly add them to your network.
Should I accept connection requests from everyone that adds me even if I don’t know them?
The short answer is yes. The worst-case scenario is that you may receive some unwanted spam or a sales pitch. Again, by adding connections and growing your network, it will increase your exposure. This will not only help when seeking employment, but it can also be beneficial down the road, as employers may reach out when you aren’t even looking!
I would caution to at least review connection requests. If they are a spammer, it should be relatively easy to detect. The three things that I recommend looking at are: what they do, where they are from, and where they work. If you review these three area,s it should give you some good insight before making the decision to add them.
Pat yourself on the back! If you followed through this series and cleaned up your profile, you are in great shape. You have now added another solid tool to assist in your job search. Feel free to comment and let us know your questions and feedback. We would love to hear your LinkedIn job search success stories!
Dan Metz is the Director of Executive Search and Employee Development at the Resilience Group, LLC, and Co-Founder and Contributing Author for Need a New Gig. Follow his blog for more great tips like this!