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Expanding your LinkedIn network

The area of the LinkedIn profile that causes the most difficulty in getting to All – Star status is connecting with 500 people. It’s important to have a strong network so you can earn an All-Star profile, but a strong network is also the backbone of the site.

Connections are key to your success on LinkedIn. When you search LinkedIn for people, the results are comprised of people within your LinkedIn network who meet your search criteria. When people search for you or someone like you, you will appear in their search results as long as you reside within their LinkedIn network. The more people you have in your network, the higher you rank in LinkedIn search, and the more often you are found.

LinkedIn uses connections to provide additional insight unlike any other social network. LinkedIn doesn’t just show with whom you are directly connected. LinkedIn unveils how you are connected to other people.

Your LinkedIn Network consists of first-, second-, and third-degree connections. These degrees describe how a person is connected to another person. A firstdegree connection is someone you have added to your network or someone who has added you to their network. A second-degree connection is a person connected to your first-degree connection but not directly connected to you. If a person is a second-degree connection, that means you have a mutual connection in common. A third-degree connection is someone who is connected to a seconddegree connection. If a person is a third-degree connection, they know someone who knows a person you know directly. A person is considered outside of your network if you do not share any connections within three degrees of that person.

To truly leverage LinkedIn and get to All-Star profile strength, you must get your online network to reflect your offline network. Here are some ideas of people you can invite to connect on LinkedIn:

  • Alumni
  • Current colleagues
  • Current employer
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Past colleagues
  • Past employers

LinkedIn provides a tool to make connecting easy. It’s called People You May Know. Rather than wracking your brain trying to come up with people to connect, the People You May Know screen provides suggestions based upon commonalities.

LinkedIn shows you the name, current job title, and profile picture of people who you may know. They base these suggestions off of similar profile information such as working at the same company or going to the same school. LinkedIn also looks at the contacts you’ve imported from your email and mobile address books and offers profiles with the same contact information.

To use People You May Know to help expand your network, follow these steps:
1. Open your LinkedIn profile.
2. From LinkedIn’s main navigation bar, hover your mouse pointer over My Network and click People You May Know.
3. View the connection suggestions.
4. When you see someone you know and would like to add to your network, click the Connect button.
Clicking the Connect button immediately sends a default LinkedIn connection request.

You cannot personalize the invitation to connect message from the People You May Know page. If you would like to personalize your invitation to connect message, do the following:
1. Hover your mouse pointer over the person’s name and click.
This takes you to that person’s LinkedIn profile.

2. Click the Connect button.
You are now at the Invitation screen. If the Connect button doesn’t appear in the Summary section, you may have to select the down arrow next to Send InMail and choose Connect from the drop-down list.

3. Select how you know the person. Your choices are:

  • Colleague
  • Classmate
  • We’ve done business together
  • Friend
  • Other
  • I don’t know

Choosing “Other” or “I don’t know” prevents you from sending the invitation because LinkedIn only allows you to connect with people you know and trust. If you don’t know the person but still wish to connect, you must choose Friend and hope to make it true in the future.

4. In the Include a Personal Note field, personalize the invitation as you wish.

5. Click the Send Invitation button.
By expanding your network, you will turn up more often in searches, have more views to your profile, and find more opportunities via LinkedIn. Next, we take a look at setting up your digital calling card.

Buying LinkedIn connections will quickly make you a lot more noticeable on LinkedIn, make you less complicated to locate for possible clients, employers, business companions. Your new LinkedIn connections will certainly broaden your reach, supercharge your search, and strengthen your influencer condition.

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