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Home / Blog / How to Build Meaningful Professional Connections on LinkedIn

How to Build Meaningful Professional Connections on LinkedIn

Expert tips for building a professional network on LinkedIn to boost your HR career.

Lily Yuan
Career coach and author for ResumeGiants
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Unlike traditional networking platforms, LinkedIn provides a unique opportunity to connect with professionals from diverse backgrounds and industries on a global scale. By fostering genuine relationships and engaging with your network strategically, you can unlock a wealth of opportunities for career growth, mentorship, collaboration, and professional development.

This article will help you network effectively on Linkedin with a selection of tried-and-tested strategies. From building your network to creating a steady stream of engaging and insightful content for the community, we have advice that will help you become awesome at LinkedIn networking.

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Building Your LinkedIn Network

Reach out to colleagues, classmates, and industry professionals you know personally. Better yet, shoot them a personalized connection request.

The best practice with connection requests is to mention an experience or interest you share with the other person. Everyone’s received a long-winded, obviously copy-and-pasted mass message. Insincere outreach doesn’t pay off.

A LinkedIn Invitation to connect including an example of a personal note.

Once you’ve reached out to people in your immediate network, it’s time to leverage the power of second-degree connections.

The key here is to find mutual connections. Take advantage of filters and search options on LinkedIn to find relevant individuals. The People You May Know  tab on LinkedIn is a great start—as shown through LinkedIn’s own in-house study of 20 million users over the span of 5 years.

This grand-scale social experiment started in 2015 and ran until 2019. Researchers investigated how tweaks in LinkedIn’s algorithm affected how their users sought out employment. Surprisingly, they found that relatively weaker links (socially) were twice as powerful in helping people land a job as opposed to stronger ones (such as first-degree connections or classmates).

Cold Outreach on LinkedIn

LinkedIn offers you the opportunity to connect with people you find aspirational. For example, you can use the platform to engage with industry leaders and influencers. These folks are often on the run and extremely busy. However, you can still show your support through likes, comments, and shares. Always provide valuable insights respectfully and be mindful of your audience.

Join relevant LinkedIn Groups related to your field or interests. We encourage active participation in relevant discussions to learn or share your expertise. Remember to share valuable content, and build relationships with group members. Did you know that members of shared groups have the option to message you directly without Premium? A huge bonus!

Another tip is to make sure you always follow-up strategically with connections you’d like to continue the conversation with. After your initial contact, express continued interest. This could involve sending a quick thank-you message after they've accepted your connection request, sharing relevant content or articles that they might find interesting, or scheduling a follow-up call to simply get to know one another better!

A Content Sharing Case Study

Let’s look at a case study of how creating, and engaging with content on LinkedIn can help you build connections.

It begins with a scenario that may sound familiar to some. In July 2022, Casey Clement was laid off after 32 years of employment. The news caught him off guard, and he went through a flurry of emotions— as anyone would.

Instead of dealing with it alone, he decided to openly share his experience on LinkedIn.

Within hours of his original post, comments started to flood in from professionals from all walks of life and every corner of the world going through a similar rough patch in their careers. After 24 hours, his post had gone viral and garnered a huge amount of support. The numbers speak for themselves:

A LinkedIn post that shares results from sharing content.

After a few days, companies such as Amazon and Meta noticed Casey’s perseverance, resilience, and skillset. He went on to consult, strategize, and collaborate with some of the most innovative and productive teams he had encountered.

Casey attributes his success on LinkedIn to a combination of factors: luck, with the algorithms aligning in his favor on a fortuitous day; consistent cultivation of his network, ensuring growth and engagement even when not actively seeking opportunities; embracing vulnerability by making his post about his own needs rather than focusing solely on gratitude towards his former employer.

He actively engaged with and responded to those who interacted with his post, fostering genuine connections. The major turning point for his post was when Jeff Weiner, ex-CEO and Executive Chairman of LinkedIn himself, interacted with it— which skyrocketed its view count.

Casey's journey serves as a testament to the power of networking, vulnerability, and seizing opportunities, which ultimately lead him to a fulfilling career.

Best Practices for Engaging with LinkedIn

Share Valuable Content

Establish yourself as someone worth knowing by sharing industry-related articles, news, and insights to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. The ideal is to post this type of content every few days— at least once a week.

You can also create original content, such as blog posts or videos, to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.

Keep Track of Your Content

Pay attention to how your content is resonating with your audience, and be open to feedback. Use analytics tools on LinkedIn to track the performance of your posts and adjust your content strategy accordingly. This way you can continuously iterate and improve on your content to stay relevant and engaging.

Keep a Consistent Posting Schedule

Posting consistently means you stay relevant and top-of-mind in your network. To make this easier on your calendar, set time aside to create and schedule posts for the future. For example, you can dedicate a few hours each month to create consistent content for each week.

While you’re creating your own stuff, always keep an eye out on content in your field through comments, likes, and shares. Participate in relevant discussions and groups by providing thoughtful and insightful contributions.

To get the most from your time, tailor your messages to the audience you’re interested in connecting with. What would they care about? What would make them stop scrolling and engage?

You can direct content at a specific person, simply mention shared connections or reference their work, for example.

React to Posts and Comments

It’s not only about posting to your feed. Maintaining a productive presence on LinkedIn requires that you like, share, and comment on posts from others in your network. 

Give and Take

Think about your intention and reciprocal value. You are more likely to build genuine connections by offering assistance or sharing insights instead of solely seeking favors from others.

If you build genuine relationships on LinkedIn, it can foster trust and credibility within your professional network. When others see you as authentic and reliable, they are more likely to recommend you, endorse your skills, or vouch for your expertise. 

So, how might you go about making a LinkedIn relationship meaningful? Here are some ideas:

  • Attend seminars (virtual or in person) which you both have a vested interest in.
  • Suggest books or thought-provoking articles to add to each other’s bookshelves.
  • If you two are in the same city, consider inviting mutual friends out for a coffee and potentially forming a larger professional circle.
  • Host your own event via Meetup, with a description that includes all industries relevant to your career.

Cultivating genuine relationships is about nurturing long-term connections that can support your career advancement over time. Building a strong network of trusted contacts can provide ongoing support and opportunities throughout your professional journey.

Key Takeaways

There’s a treasure cove of long-term benefits that come with effective LinkedIn networking. That said, while the quantity of connections on LinkedIn is important, the quality of those connections matters even more. Instead of focusing solely on expanding your network, prioritize building authentic relationships with individuals who share common interests, goals, and values.

These meaningful connections can serve as a valuable support system, providing insights, advice, and opportunities that can propel your career forward and help you navigate the ever-changing professional landscape with confidence and success. It all starts with a connection request or reply on a LinkedIn thread.

By experimenting with the strategies we’ve shared and continually building your professional LinkedIn network, you’ll see results with patience and effort!

Lily Yuan
Career coach and author for ResumeGiants
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Lily Yuan is a career coach and author who specializes in personality and positive psychology. She uses the Extended DISC, Strong Interest Inventory, and Ikigai to help guide professionals from all walks of life in their career journeys. She partners with ResumeGiants to provide the latest career and resume advice to job seekers

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