There has been a lot of discussion over the last few years in and around the who, how, when, and why you should connect with on LinkedIn. Whether you have 300 connections or 30,000 it’s always a good idea to take stock of who you ‘know’ and grow and enhance your network strategically.
The way shown below is a bit more time-consuming than using the network statistics tool that LinkedIn has BUT it is far more accurate. As an example, in my network statistics area, LinkedIn shows that my connections in Nashville make up on 4% of my network when in reality Nashvillians makes up more than 50%.
To really get an accurate sense of where you stand do the following:
1. Determine what ‘type’ of people should be in your network.
I am big into connecting with anyone, anytime, any place but think there are a few types of people who you need to have in place to make your network ‘work’ –
- people in your function / industry (and / or the one you are targeting)
- people in your geographic area (and / or the area you are targeting)
- people you have worked with / went to school with
and if you are in job-search mode –
- people at companies you are trying to target as places you would like to work
- recruiters who work in your geographic / functional area
In my case here is what I specifically strive for:
- I recruit IT professionals for a living so having a strong IT network is important
- I live in Nashville, TN and having a strong local network is high on my list
- My job can be classified into a few different areas – staffing, recruiting, and HR so having connections in those areas is important
- Right now I am working on positions in Seattle, Salt Lake City, and San Dimas, California (Orange County area) so it is to my advantage to know people in those geographical areas
2. Go to http://www.linkedin.com/search and you will find the following screen (you can also hit the Advanced button next to the search bar):
3. Now go to Relationship, select 1st Connections, and hit Search.
4. Analyze your network (just make sure that you are looking at your first level connections only).
You can look at your network in any number of ways and get a good feel for who you are connected with.
5. Check to see where you are at in comparison to your ideal.
Again going back to my ideal lets check in and see how I am doing.
- IT professionals (1341 connections who identify themselves in that space)
- Nashvillians (3091 connections who live in Middle Tennessee)
- Staffing, recruiting, and HR (1128 connections in those functions)
- Seattle (77), Salt Lake City (32), and Orange County, California area (69)
Is my network perfect? absolutely not. Am I working on it? You better believe it.
It’s important to remember that a strong network on LinkedIn is an ever changing animal that takes time, patience, and persistance to get it just right but it can pay off with huge results!
Hope your network is in better shape than mine!
Until next time – good hunting and good luck!