Consistency leads to long-term results, and building your LinkedIn connections is no exception. It’s important to create a plan in order to build your career referral network. Without a regular routine, you might only be connecting with a few people here and there and not following up with them. So it is essential to establish an action plan with a consistent schedule to generate a lot of career activity. In this article, we discuss some tips for how you can accomplish this.
Why Build a Network?
Networking leads to job referrals and puts you in a stronger position with hiring managers. Watch this video to see how one candidate got the job and left all the other hopefuls behind!
Setting Your Goals
To build your referral network, it is important to set monthly goals for reaching out to new connections so that you can stay on track to accomplish them. After you have set your monthly goals, you can break them down into weekly and daily goals. Put your goals into a spreadsheet so that you can remain focused on them each day.
Below are some of the items to set goals for. For each action item, block time on your calendar to make sure it gets done. Also, set a timer when you are doing the action item and focus on the specific task of connecting, re-engaging with prior connections, messaging for introductions having those conversations.
For making new connections, we recommend reaching out to at least 10 people a day. That adds up to 50 a week, and 200 a month. To build a strong network, only connect with people who are on your list of ideal professionals—those in your field of interest. Remember to always customize your connection request and avoid pitching anything in the message. Here are some ways to ensure that your LinkedIn requests are accepted.
Messaging New Connections
One key strategy to help you build your referral network is to create messages to send to new connections. Depending on your strategy, you might send some or all of the following types of messages.
● A message that says thanks to the prospect for connecting with you and offers value such as a link to a blog, video, article, or a tool that would be a resource for them.
● After sending your first message, you might choose to send another message with a link that offers additional value. Let your connection know that you would love to hear their feedback on the resource you sent.
● Since your goal is to have a meeting with your connection, you can reach out by inviting them to have a brief call with you. You might suggest a date and time and ask if it would work for them. If you don’t hear back from the connection, you can send them a follow-up message asking them again to connect by phone or through chat. Set a goal for how many calls you want to have a week and adjust your strategy, as needed, to meet that goal.
Reconnecting with Prior First Degree Connections
There may be people in your first-degree network that you want to re-connect with. You might ask them for a time to catch up over the phone to reconnect.
Engaging with Connections
In addition to having a series of messages to send to new connections, and follow up messages for reconnecting with older connections, you’ll also want to implement some other strategies to nurture your connections. Here are some examples:
● Share your content with your connections and also share and comment on their content, such as articles they post. Let them know that you value their content and that you will share it with your network.
● Introduce two connections to each other who could benefit from connecting.
● Recommend a connection.