After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in 2011, I applied for numerous entry-level positions in the public relations and communications industry, but soon found that I was a victim of “hard times” created by recent economic setbacks.
In an effort to get more “bang for their buck,” many agencies in the Philadelphia area had revised their job descriptions to include qualifiers that created a barrier to employment. More than one agency’s entry-level position listing required one to three years of full-time experience in an agency environment—something that’s almost impossible for a recent college graduate.
To overcome this barrier, I started using LinkedIn as my primary professional networking platform in July 2012. I didn’t upgrade my Basic account to Premium or Job Seeker, I simply committed to 15-30 minutes of networking and interaction per day, and after 5 months, I was able to reach “All Star” profile strength and unlock the 500+ connections marker that is visible on the profile of power networkers.
My networking efforts opened the door to recruiters and hiring managers sharing job opportunities, speaking opportunities and consulting projects work with higher education institutions, and have produced approximately one new LinkedIn request per day from someone interested in connecting with a power networker.
Are you ready to start using LinkedIn to network and get ahead? Here are 5 tips to help you grow your LinkedIn network to 500+ in 5 months.
1) Actively Grow Your Network
2) LinkedIn Groups Are Your Best Friend
3) Generic LinkedIn Requests Get You Nowhere
4) Dominate Searches: Include Keywords in Your Profile
5) Be a Power Networker that Attracts Other Networkers
In my opinion, your network equates value on LinkedIn and throwing it around like a party favor implies that it isn’t worth much. I would suggest that you consider the middle option: only network with individuals with a certain number of connections. Your goal is to be a power networker, so set a limit (maybe 200 connections) and stick to it.
The more LinkedIn Groups you’re a member of, and the number of connections you have, will have a direct result on your job search results, so be willing to network with people outside your field of interest. You never know who you will inherit as a second degree connection, so the opportunities are endless!