Two Simple Ways to Develop your LinkedIn Network, with Examples
When my clients grumble at the idea of networking on LinkedIn, I feel their pain. As an introvert, I network surprisingly well in person or on Zoom, but I find connecting with people online difficult.
Unfortunately for me and others seeking to build their brand or find a new job, a solid online network and in-person network are critical. So how does one get started?
FIRST, PERFECT YOUR PITCH
What makes you and your career offering unique? A personal brand statement or ‘elevator pitch’ tells your network what sets you apart from the competition. Things to consider include:
What terms would people use to search for you?
How does your expertise or education benefit an organization?
What solutions do you bring?
Finish the sentence: Only I ________
Write down your answers to the questions above and blend the words to craft a two- or three-sentence statement. Use it on your resume, LinkedIn headline, or as the foundation for an introduction. Your brand statement should reflect what you’ve done, what you do, and what you will do.
Your pitch will help your network get excited about promoting your brand. Use it to set yourself apart and draw interest from a wider pool of professionals. Remember to keep it short and memorable so your network can easily share your value-based story with others.
REACH OUT TO CONTACTS
Use these basic examples as a framework for LinkedIn outreach notes. Rewrite these in your voice and round out your email with a one-sentence introduction and close.
PERSONAL NETWORK OR FIRST-LEVEL CONTACT
“I’m reaching out because I’ve decided it’s time to transition jobs. My position at [Company] as a [title] is [positive narrative about why you’re leaving]. I’m hoping you know someone to connect me with so that I might learn more about [passion/topic/jobs].”
KNOWN ASSOCIATE OR SECOND-LEVEL CONTACT
“We have a mutual contact - [Name] at [Company]. I saw on your profile that [topic] and would like to join your network to learn more.”
“I found your contact information on LinkedIn while researching [topic] and enjoyed learning about [topic] on your profile. I’m planning a [transition/move/etc.] and would like to join your network to learn more about what you do.”
INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW REQUEST
“I’ve enjoyed being part of your network. I’m planning a job transition and am hoping you have time for a 15-minute call where I might hear your thoughts on [your company/position/industry].”
As uncomfortable as it might be, developing network contacts can help with job prospects, advancement in your current job, and can enable you to build relationships with like-minded professionals.