Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tips for using LinkedIn more effectively.

I can't say whether many of my students have actually found jobs through LinkedIn but I can say that the site seems to be growing very quickly in popularity given the number of networking requests I've received from students over the past several months.  Apparently LinkedIn has added some new features that will enable students to connect more efficiently with alumni from their schools.  Adrian Dayton at The National Law Journal's "Connected Lawyer" column explains.

Three Simple Ways to Connect

. . . LinkedIn has introduced some features that give users more opportunities to gain visibility and business.

The first thing is to tap into your alumni network from law school and undergraduate days. We all have relationships that we should have maintained but didn't, and now LinkedIn has developed a search tool that helps you reconnect with your classmates. You just go to the "Contacts" pull-down menu and select your alma mater. Up pops a list of people who also studied there at the same time as you. You can break this list down by city, company name or industry.

. . . .

You obviously won't know everyone who ever attended your college, and yet there remains an advantage to reaching out to them over total strangers. They share with you something that Malcolm Gladwell called "weak ties." These aren't strong enough to convince someone to go out of their way, but you have something in common that makes them more likely to open your message and maybe even have a telephone conversation. And if you actually knew this person, your job becomes much easier.

 . . . .

The purpose of every online interaction is to arrange a meeting. The purpose of every first meeting is to arrange a second. So how do we get more meetings? By personalizing our messages. How does it make you feel to reconnect with a long-lost friend? Great, right? Compare that to how you would feel if that same friend sent you a generic message on LinkedIn: "Since you are a person I trust, I would like to add you to my network." Personalize your messages. Show real interest in your old friends' careers and where life has taken them.

Read the rest of Mr. Dayton's column here.


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