Once you have your LinkedIn profile up and running, the next step is to ensure you can maximize the full potential of the platform. To do this, you really need at least 500 LinkedIn connections.
Why 500? This is the number where you hit a critical mass of connections (people you've met in your life) and get access to all of their connections. It's the point at which your LinkedIn really pays dividends.
You should connect with:
Former and current colleagues
Former and current classmates
People you know from extracurricular activities
Once you've built up your connections, you'll have more content to interact with on your newsfeed and you'll be more likely to have mutual connections with people you want to meet.
LinkedIn is a powerful platform for making new connections and staying in touch with your existing network. There are a few ways to interact with people on LinkedIn, and each method has a specific purpose. Let's break it down:
Send a connection request to connect with someone you know (e.g., work with, went to school together, or met at a recent event). Always include a personalized note in the request explaining why you're connecting or simply wishing them well. Don't use connection requests for people you'd like to meet (that's where InMail is best!).
InMail: An InMail is a long-form message that gets sent directly to the recipient's email inbox. This is best used when you need to get in touch with someone you don't know and don't have their email address. An example use case is you are reaching out to a recruiter at a company you're interested in and are requesting a 15-minute phone call.
Message: You can send messages to anyone you are connected with on LinkedIn. This option becomes available after the other person has accepted your connection request (or after you've accepted their request). Use this to communicate with people in your network.
Comment: When you see a post or article on your newsfeed from someone you're connected with, writing a comment helps strengthen your relationship. This is also a great way to stay top of mind. Your comment can be something short and sweet like "Great insights!" or you can share your perspective on what they posted. You might say, "This article brings up an interesting point. I've always kept my email notifications open but will try turning them off when I need to focus. Thanks for sharing!" Keep in mind that everyone in your network can see what you comment, so keep it professional.