One key element of LinkedIn is making connections. Having people willing to connect with you is effectively an endorsement of your professional capability, so it’s worth building your connection count, if you can.
But outside of the people you know and have worked with, how do you go about ‘building’ connections? How many connections do you need to be seen as a good prospect? While the answer can vary, depending on your position and purpose, there are a couple of key tricks to increasing your LinkedIn connections while actively constructing your extended LinkedIn network.
1. College Alumni
If you are having trouble finding connections among the group of people you interact with on a daily basis, try reaching out to college alumni. If you are an established professional, these connections may be old friends or colleagues. IF you are a new grad, these connections can be alumni from your school that note in their profile that they are open to helping students get a start in their career.
2. LinkedIn Open Networkers (LIONS)
LinkedIn Open Networkers are the members of a professional social networking site that encourage connections from any member of the site by publicly declaring they are open networkers. In other words, they are open to connecting with anyone who sends an invitation to them.
You can find LinkedIn Open Networkers by searching Linkedin for terms such as “LION” or “open networker.” One of the advantages of connecting with lions is that they will almost always accept your connection request. LinkedIn monitors this acceptance rate closely, and it will factor into your algorithmic ranking and determine how many people you can send requests to.
Similar to LIONS, most recruiters are open to new connections, provided you are in a relevant industry. The only issue with recruiters is that they may have reached their maximum number of connections on LinkedIn.
4. Join Groups
Joining groups that relate to your hobbies or professional industry can be a great way to make new connections. If you actively comment on posts within a group’s page, and people find your insights useful, you will find yourself receiving a number of connection requests.
5. Change Your Headline
Sometimes people send a connection request, simply because they are curious to learn more about what you do. Having a headline, like the one below, that clearly states your job title and expresses your broader professional goals, is much more inviting. Note: while it’s best not to use them excessively, LinkedIn does allow users to use bullet points and icons, throughout their profile, even in the headline.
6. Add publications
If you have articles, presentations, or other content that has been published online (and is high quality), make sure you include this in the publication section. Based on my experience with LinkedIn’s search algorithm, this is information plays a major role in boosting a second or third degree connection when searching for content.
7. Make Sure Your Profile is Completely Filled Out
The reason recruiters always seek out your Linkedin profile is because they’re looking for more information about you to determine if you’re the right fit for their organization. An incomplete Linkedin profile defeats that purpose and creates a bad impression of you as an employee.
Don’t let’s an incomplete profile hurt your chances of finding a job, your profile is simply another tool used to sell you as an employee, don’t let it go to waste! Put as much value and content into your Linkedin profile as possible.
Linkedin does an excellent job of telling you how to have a complete profile by constantly giving you suggestions. You just have to click “improve your profile” as shown below
I don’t advertise my profile using key phrases (LION, no IDK, open networker). Regardless, by optimizing my profile, and making strategic connections, I get hundreds if not thousands of connection requests per month. This illustrates how important it is to grow your network. I literally cannot even keep up with my requests at this point!