Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Building your LinkedIn network

Once you have completed your LinkedIn profile the next major step is to start to build a network of professional contacts. Remember, though, that the main value from LinkedIn comes when you build a network of people you have a genuine business relationship with, at present or in the past, rather than being 'socially promiscuous' in the way that networks like Facebook encourage.

If you're a senior executive on LinkedIn it's not a good idea to accept random connection requests from people you've never worked with. They actually advise that it's all about the quality of your connections, not the quantity. So it's even a good idea regularly to trawl through your network to remove connections that are no longer relevant. (Though it's fair to say that others disagree with this advice and encourage random linking on the rather mercenary basis that you never know when someone might be useful to you in future!)

But to build up your list, look for people in your address book and business card collection and search for them on LinkedIn. The service makes that easy and you can use the 'Add Connections' option from the 'Contacts' menu to search through your online, Outlook, Apple Mail and similar address books. You can also hunt for Colleagues and Classmates. Then LinkedIn will start to make suggestions of 'People You May Know,' based on others in the network of people you connect with on the basis that you're likely to know 'friends of your friends.'
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