Networking online

2. LinkedIn

2.2. Top tips to expand your network using LinkedIn

Online networking has different etiquette than meeting in person, so it’s important to take these top tips into consideration so you can put your best foot forward. If done correctly, it could be the gateway to that dream job.

  1. You already have an immediate network to connect with – connect with your family, friends, colleagues, society or club members, students in your classes, academic staff, postgraduates, etc. – are you interested in their role or could they introduce you to a new contact?
  2. Avoid making ‘cold’ approaches – professionals are unlikely to connect with you without some context so don’t make the mistake of just clicking ‘connect’ without any context, add a friendly note or reminder of how/where/when you met
  3. Be specific about what you’re trying to achieve and looking for and how the person can help you, e.g. “I found your profile through the University of Edinburgh alumni group and I’m interested in hearing more about your role at […] and the steps you took to get to where you are”
  4. Use the articles and conversations happening on the platform to expand your commercial understanding of companies and sectors you are interested in – which companies are competitors? What is the company in the news for? Are there any essential skills all its employees list in their profiles?
  5. Remember that networking is a two-way process and should be mutually beneficial where possible – think about what you could offer others

Find out what employers can see. Many students and graduates haven’t thought about what their social media presence tells an employer. If you’re not convinced it would leave a positive impression, keep your personal accounts private. Alter your settings and be sure to use a suitable profile picture while you’re job searching. Anything you put into the public domain online is fair game for employers to research you. Try typing your name into a search engine and find out what they can see.

If you’re using LinkedIn and Twitter for job search or research think about how you can show you’re interested in the sector, are you sharing content, keeping up to date with the latest news and trends?