How to Leverage LinkedIn
The most important thing to remember about LinkedIn is this: LinkedIn is not a social networking platform, LinkedIn is a professional networking platform. This is what makes LinkedIn unique and the ideal place to make and maintain your professional connections.
In terms of making connections, LinkedIn offers you the chance to connect with people based on their sector, where they are located, where they went to school, where they currently work, where they previously worked, their skills, etc. This allows you to make focused connections, however the connections you make on LinkedIn should be a mix of targeted and broad.
You should be making targeted connections based on at least the following 5 things:
This one is a no-brainer. It is logical to connect with people from your area, especially in terms of community work. The best people to partner and connect with in community work is, of course, people in the community.
2. Relevant Skills
Relevant skills can mean one of 2 things: people with skills you want to develop, or people with skills relevant or helpful to one of your current or upcoming projects. If someone has listed a skill you’d like to work on, connect and send a message, or connect and watch what they share around the skill. If someone has listed a skill you may find helpful in your work, connect and send a message. You may find a great partnership.
3. Employment sector
Another no-brainer. People in your sector can share important Labour Market Information (LMI), best practices, relevant training, upcoming events, etc. Additionally, messaging other people in your sector when you have questions or opportunities is an excellent use of LinkedIn connections.
4. Current position
Connecting with people with positions similar to yours allows for many of the same things as connecting with people in the same sector as you.
5. Previous position
Connecting with people that previously worked in positions or sectors similar to yours can provide insight into the possible forward movements in your career. Also, connecting with people who have similar previous positions to your previous positions may offer the same sort of insight.
Outside of these targeted connections we also recommend you make some general connections. Connect with people that have jobs you find interesting. Connect with people with intriguing certifications. Connect with people with exciting degrees. After all, you never know where or when a key connection can be sparked.
*Disclaimer*: There is absolutely no need to connect with people you have not worked with or do not plan on working with. Your connections should be strategic. If you wouldn't dream of working with them, don't connect with them.
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