In our increasingly digital world, one primary place to build a community and network is LinkedIn.
As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, a strong network can be the key to a smooth career transition and there are a variety of ways to expand your network. LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for discovery of new companies, new people and new roles - to unlock all of that potential there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind.
1. Build your profile.
Your LinkedIn page can be concise, but it must be complete. Use a professional-looking photo; it doesn’t need to be an expensive headshot, just a nice, somewhat polished picture. Add your work history. You can describe your experience in a bit more detail here than you might on your resume. Add any educational experience, certificates or volunteer work. Fill out the headline to describe yourself in your current role, or a one-sentence pitch about your skills. The “About” section is an opportunity to describe yourself a bit more holistically, maybe mention what motivates you or unique characteristics or skills that you possess.
2. Create your network.
Find colleagues, teammates, and other people that you actually know and send a connection request. Starting with people you know in your daily life will help you create a robust network. Tip: if you’re planning to leave your current role and haven’t discussed that with your boss, be selective in who you connect with at your current company as you’ll be using this platform to look for opportunities. If you’ve met with a mentor from the Climate Career Portal, ask if you can connect on LinkedIn; they likely have a great network that you could benefit from accessing.
3. Interact with posts, create content and follow relevant pages.
If there is a post that you find interesting, interact with it! Share content that interests you and add your thoughts. Follow companies or pages that you find useful or interesting so that you see their content in your feed. Keep your tone professional. People do share personal things on LinkedIn, and we are all whole people, but in general this platform is for professional networking.
4. Connect with people outside of your immediate network.
If you’re interested in a specific company or a specific role, find someone at the company or in that role and reach out to them. If they have Premium (unnecessary in my opinion, but lots of people have it), you may be able to message them even if you’re not connected. If not, send a connection request but be sure to add a note letting them know why you want to connect. This is the LinkedIn equivalent to cold-calling; it isn’t always successful, but if you reach out with genuine curiosity- many people will respond.
5. Join Groups.
Consider joining an alumni group for a past educational institution, or an interest-based group (like, the Canadian Solar Professionals Network). Joining a group means that you’ll see content that is posted directly to the group, which for private groups does not show up in the main feed of LinkedIn. Groups can be a great place to connect with folks outside of your network and to hear about opportunities in your field of interest.
Modern networking is a mix of in-person and online connections - you’ll likely need to engage in both to build out your network. I find that LinkedIn is a great way to meet new people, and to connect with people I’ve met in person. Even if I’ve met someone in person, I always include a note in a connection request to put context with my name. Don’t feel like you need to spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, it is social media, but use it as a tool for creating your professional network with a goal of making every future job change a little bit easier.
Post by freelance writer Anna Kobb (find her on LinkedIn!)
Iron & Earth's Training Programs are funded in part by the Government of Canada's Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program.