When you look at a profile on LinkedIn you will notice a little gray box in the upper right corner above the personal information which will have either “1st”, “2nd” or “3rd”. This refers to how you are connected to that person.
The people who you are directly connected with are your 1st degree connections. Your 2nd degree connections are those people who are directly connected to your 1st degree connections. Your 3rd degree connections are directly connected to your 2nd degree connections. Make sense? How you get connected with those 2nd and 3rd degree connections is the topic today.
Personalize Your Message When Connecting
If you have tried to connect with people on LinkedIn, you know that the system will ask you how you know the person. PLEASE do not use a generic message when connecting with people you don’t know well! The more the message relates to them personally, the more likely they are to accept your request and add you to their network of professionals.
It takes two minutes to come up with a customized message. Aim to answer the questions of what you have in common with the other person and why you’d like to connect. It can be as simple as, “I’m a current senior at UST, your alma mater. I’m interested in pursuing a career in retail management and, given your career path, I’d love the opportunity to connect.” By crafting this brief message, you’re showing yourself to be a thoughtful individual with a real reason behind connecting.
So, what if you don’t know the person you want to connect with? If they are a 2nd degree connection, use the Get Introduced feature. Simply click the drop-down arrow, choose “Get Introduced” and choose the 1st degree connection you have in common. LinkedIn will help by sending that 1st degree connection your personalized message asking to assist in the introduction!
LinkedIn Groups provides a valuable way for you to be heard and make new connections. LinkedIn Groups exist for just about any industry or topic you could imagine. Focus on ones that will help you with your goal: finding your next job, career advice, or career exploration. Look for groups in your industry and groups with influential people in your field. You can also search groups to see if there is one created for people who work at a company you want to work for. Use LinkedIn Groups just like you would an in-person networking group: You’re not there to sell yourself, but rather to build relationships. Don’t jump into a Group announcing that you’re looking for a job. Instead, sit back and observe at first. Participate where appropriate.
You probably could use professional advice occasionally, right? Use your LinkedIn Groups to find it. The CDC’s ASK group is a great place to get started.
Belonging to a group will give you access to send direct messages to other members of the group. Go to the Group page, click on Members and you will see all members. You can search for a specific company within that group and when you find a person of interest, hover over their profile photo and click on “Send a Message”.
Later this week we will explore how to connect to UST Alumni and the ins-and-outs of following companies.
If you are new to LinkedIn and like a hands-on approach to your learning, plan on attending one of the following seminars in MHC 124:
Wednesday, 1/28 at 12 p.m.
Thursday, 2/12 at 10 a.m.
Friday, 2/27 at 12 p.m.