8) Invitations: The Web 2.0 version of friends with benefits. As a new graduate or current undergraduate, you’ll first want to link to as many peers as possible. Be they friends, dorm roommates, or last night’s tailgate hookup, you want to make sure you’ve connected with as many people from your personal networks as possible before reaching out to school alumni (your second stop) and then possible employers. Through certain email providers (I was able to do this easily through Gmail), you can also choose to send an invite to those already in your address book.
Invites can be a little tricky, and there is definitely a set of etiquette rules to follow. With each invite, be sure to send a personal message briefly explaining who you are (especially if you met this person at a conference or through a mutual acquaintance and not through an actual joint professional project) and where you met. Understand why you would like to connect with this person so you’ll understand when and where the two of you might be mutually beneficial to one another down the line. Also, once you’ve met with anyone either in person or over the phone and would like to connect with them, be sure to send the invite within 24 hours.
By plugging yourself into the networking grid and sending invites to as many parties as possible, you’ll be able to search for contacts through LinkedIn connections and others might be able to find you through a second or third party search.
9) Recommendations: In order to make your LinkedIn profile 100% complete, you’ll have to write brief recommendations for at least three others on the site. In kind, ask and encourage those you know well (especially previous internship or part-time work supervisors) to spend a few minutes to sing your praises. But before doing this, be sure to offer up the favor first.
And now…keep sending out those resumes.
LinkedIn is meant to be a networking tool, and a branding tool, but using it alone won’t lead to immediate job offers. You’ll still have to slog through the process of sending out resumes and interviewing with recruiters. But on the bright side, being linked in does make this process quicker and provide you with a network of contacts and mentors to aid you on your way.
Neal Schaffer, author of Windmill Networking: Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn
Windmill Networking Blog
Windmill Networking: Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn
How to Use LinkedIn: Everything You Need to Know
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