Link Up With LinkedIn
LinkedIn is an online network which includes more than 11 million professionals of all stripes from all over the world. There are an estimated 150 industries represented on this career networking venue. If you haven't yet opened a LinkedIn account, it's time to get cracking.
One of the major questions that comes up in relation to building your own LinkedIn network is whether to connect only with those people you know. The answer is that it depends on what you're trying to accomplish. If you limit yourself to a small group of people you know, who are all in the same industry, you're on the road to stagnation. Aiming for a wider audience is the best way to keep your options open and for finding new and productive avenues.
If you add only the people you know to your LinkedIn network, you're not really doing yourself any good. These are people you see sometimes, or even often. You already have each others' contact info, and may even be referring customers to one another. Adding only these sorts of contacts to your LinkedIn network makes LinkedIn superfluous.
However, if you work to widen your network from a more expansive group of people, be it those who work in your industry, or live where you lived, or went to the same school, you're making the circle widen and that increases your chances of getting ahead in your profession. That doesn't mean you need to exclude those people you already know and love. You can have them and the others at one and the same time.
In order to get attention drawn to you at LinkedIn, you'll want to make a time investment in creating a profile that piques the interest of those who will visit your page. Make yourself seem intriguing, unusual, fascinating. Make yourself stand out. Your LinkedIn profile should contain more information than you would place on your resume. The more you put into that profile, the more your chances increase of being found. LinkedIn uses a Profile Completeness utility that lets you know where you stand. Do what you have to do to make the meter read 100%.
LinkedIn allows you up to 3000 invitations for building up your network. While this is plenty for most people, it's also possible to receive additional blocks of invitations in lots of 500, should you run out. Start by inviting people you already know, who happen to have LinkedIn accounts. Don't be shy about asking for or giving recommendations. Don't forget that networking is about helping others as you help yourself.