With over 150 million users worldwide and almost 30 million unique visitors a month from the United States, LinkedIn has undoubtedly become the premier social network for business professionals and freelancers alike. People from all walks of life are able to establish their credibility by completing their profile and making connections with as many relevant professionals as possible. Since I was a sophomore in college, I have understood the value that this service can provide and I consistently look for ways to improve my profile and connect with more people to expand my network. Now, with over 1,000 connections, I have made friends with professionals, engineers and entrepreneurs around the U.S. and even overseas in London, China and South Africa.
I have made all of these connections without paying a dime to LinkedIn for their Premium version, and you can too. The name of the game is to be proactive! By starting to build your network now, your network will grow exponentially in the future. By waiting, you allow many people that have similar experience levels and qualifications to make the connections that you should be making. How did I start? First, I did real things in real life that I could build my profile about. Then, I made my profile (100% complete) and included a professional head shot. If you don’t plan on completing your profile or adding a professional head shot then don’t bother signing up for LinkedIn…no one will take you serious. Next it was time to import all of my existing email contacts and search for any personal contacts I had that I wasn’t connected to already. This process alone should get you over 100 connections!
Once you get to 100 connections on LinkedIn, pat yourself on the back. This is a good accomplishment, but your next goal should be to get to 500. In my next blog post, I will discuss how I did that via LinkedIn Groups, hard work, marketing collateral and more.