How to Communicate and Network on LinkedIn

This is a social media site that is primarily used for business purposes. Therefore, your communications and connections should be professional yet authentic to your personality.  Think about how you interact with professors, advisors, project peers, and recruiters, and then translate that style into LinkedIn.  Be proactive with LinkedIn and use its tools to portray a positive and active professional persona.

Best Practice for Networking on LinkedIn

Keep it professional and to the point
Be as clear and brief with your communications as possible so that people will read your material.  Double-check your spelling, grammar, style and tone because your words will be seen by many and represent your attention to detail in communication.

Tailor your connection message
  • Do not let LinkedIn access all of your contacts to send out spam/generic invites.
  • Personalize your connection message
    • If you want to connect with a colleague, explain why you want to connect or remind them what you have in common professionally.
    • If you are wanting to connect with someone that you don’t really know, research the person by viewing his/her profile.  Change the wording in your request by highlighting the things you have in common or asking for connection based on specific professional reasons.  Ex. “I would like to actively follow ‘XYZ company’ and discuss rotational co-op opportunities.”
Check your account regularly
A major advantage of LinkedIn is that you get real-time information from those in your network about professional happenings.  Make sure you reply to any personal messages within a few days.  Follow the updates of companies and individuals, and reply to threads periodically to show interest in maintaining their connection.  Add posts and let your network know what professional actions you are taking.

Be generous in your time and thank your network
Your network is more likely to help you when you thank them often and do things for them.  Expect to give more than you get.

Join LinkedIn groups related to your network
Group discussions can help keep you informed and strengthen your ties to individuals.  Professional associations, volunteer groups, and your school’s alumni groups have common ground with your interests and strengths.  Alumni usually have an extra interest in seeing students succeed from their alma mater.

Ask your professional contacts for advice, not just jobs
Requesting a brief private phone/e-mail conversation can often yield a better result than a request that is not entirely in your contact’s control.  If you have kept an active connection with this person and researched the company he/she is associated with, your efforts to ask that person’s advice show that you are a professional, young engineer and potential colleague.

Connect with HR managers
When applying for a position online, attempted to connect with the hiring manager or HR manager at the company to let them know that you have a high-level of interest in the position.  Indicate that you recently applied for a particular position and indicate that you would be grateful if they reviewed your application.  When you make a personal connection, there is a higher likelihood that your application and resume will get serious consideration.

 

The Employment Process Menu

Introduction

Step 1: Understanding Employers and the College Recruiting Process

    -Maintain a Positive Attitude

Step 2: Determine Career Goals and Skillset

Step 3: Identify Preliminary Target Employers and Industries

Step 4: Develop Effective Marketing Materials

Step 5: Search for Specific Employment and Research Target Companies