All About Connections
We all know that social media is all about who you know. And hopefully you know that LinkedIn is focused on helping you build your professional network online, but what does that really mean? This week I’m going to highlight the top three ways to use your LinkedIn connections.
1. Professional – LinkedIn is the place to build your professional brand online and that includes who you connect with as a professional. Your connections are simply who you know. As I mentioned last week, you need 50 connections before your profile is complete, but that doesn’t mean you should add everyone you know. You should include your classmates, coworkers, professors, managers, and other professionals that you work with. As you add connections you can also create tags and add information on how you met either on their profile page in the ‘Contact Information’ box or from your connections page (both shown below). This information is for your eyes only, but can be helpful as you go about your b-school networking. Moreover, from the connections page you can export your contacts to a .cvs file for use in Outlook or Excel (below the connections box is ‘Export connections’)
Contact info box from profile page
2. Productive – LinkedIn wants to help you be productive, and your connections can help you! When you visit LinkedIn you will see a newsfeed, but don’t get this confused with your Facebook newsfeed, this is all about what’s going on in the industry around you. Depending on your network, this may be articles from HBR or CNN or they could be from Mashable and Inc.com. But you can also influence this through your LinkedIn Today preferences. Go to the LinkedIn Today page (found under News on the top bar) and on the right side of the page you will see a box like the one below. Click on Customize your News to see all the options available for you. Another way to increase your productivity is to join groups that are relavent to the work you want to be doing. This is an excellent way to not only hear about what is going on, but to contribute to your field. For you career switchers out there, use this to help tell your story of how you are making the transition and learning before you even get the job.
3. Everywhere – Have you ever walked into a coffee shop for a networking meeting and not known who you were looking for? Use LinkedIn’s mobile app before you walk in the door to see their profile picture and to help jog your memory of their background. It can even help you start the conversation, ‘Did you read that HBR article about…’? Oh, and LinkedIn is in 17 languages now, which means it really is everywhere and can connect you to your industry peers around the world. Make connections in India, join a group based in Europe, or reach out to an Alumnae in Brazil.
I hope that these tips will enhance your connections and enable you to build your professional, productive network everywhere!