During a job search, it’s important to have a strategy for systematically connecting with new people who can strengthen your network and help you achieve your career goals. However, it is often overlooked that it is just as important to have a strategy for building a great relationship with someone after you have connected with them. In this article, we discuss how to build a relationship with a new LinkedIn connection.
Shift Your Focus
People often get stuck when it comes to how to engage in a great conversation with a new connection. This is because they are too focused on looking to help themselves, so shift your focus. What they don’t see is that, when they are curious about someone and ask them thoughtful questions, your connection becomes curious as well and this is the beginning of a relationship that can lead to career referrals.
Create a list of questions that you can ask after you have connected with someone on LinkedIn. Having these questions handy will help you to start your conversations. The things that you ask about should show that you have genuine interest and that you are professional. You might ask about someone’s background and experience, ask for career advice, etc.
Focus on What You Can Give
When starting a relationship with a new connection, begin by considering what you can give rather than what you can receive. This is the best way to build a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship. One of the ways that you can give is by finding a way that you can help your connection. As Jeff Haden points out in the Inc.com article about building extraordinary relationships:
“Very few people offer help before they have been asked, even though most of the time, that is when a little help will make the greatest impact.” He also points out that it is best to come up with specific ways that you can help rather than asking the general question “Is there something I can do to help you?” For example, you could offer to introduce them to someone who could be a great addition to their network.
Participate In Groups
Some of the people that you want to connect with and build relationship with may be active members of LinkedIn groups, so you can engage with them there. Get involved in online groups, provide value, and you’ll see that you may just find some career referrals and job opportunities! Listen to how this online conversation led to a new lead — it can happen for you!
React to the Updates of Your Connections
To help build a relationship with a new LinkedIn connection, you can also use LinkedIn updates. LinkedIn offers many updates on your connections, including job anniversaries, job changes, and birthdays. Many people simply send a quick message that says “congratulations”, but the updates can be a great opportunity to reach out to a connection to start a meaningful conversation.
Using Content to Engage with Your Connections
You can engage with your connections through content by commenting on their posts, sharing their content, or posting your own content that your connections can see in their news feeds. Another way that you can engage them is by sending a message with a link that directs them to a helpful blog or video. You can even get specific and reference certain paragraphs that they might find helpful within a blog. Once you have gotten to know a connection better, you can also offer to give them a recommendation.
For more tips on building your network and landing job referrals…
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