The Pay it Forward Mindset of LinkedIn

pay-it-forward-wordsSo many people approach LinkedIn all wrong. They either copy and paste their résumé and that’s it, or they go about it backward. By backward I mean they have a, “I need something (JOB) approach.” When did anyone ever get very far when they led with what they wanted?

Now, when you lead with a “What can I do to help you” approach…THAT’S when rubber meets the road in networking.

Think of LinkedIn as a bank account: One cannot make a withdrawal before one has made a deposit.  

LinkedIn is where you can:

  • Build your personal branding platform
  • Create a lifelong global community
  • Engage in conversations that will open doors
  • Build credibility, influence and social capital
  • Help people and have people invested in helping you

Too many people view LinkedIn as a place to post résumés online and as nothing more than a type of electronic exchange of business cards. The thing is, in face-to-face life, you wouldn’t hand someone your card and walk away, nor would you help someone who handed their card to you and walked away without a word. Unfortunately, that’s essentially what people do on LinkedIn when they send and accept connection requests. They are using LinkedIn with the purpose of only making withdrawals from their network – before making deposits that would forge connections and cause their contact to have an interest in being helpful.

LinkedIn uses proprietary algorithms to rank and order the results you get when you search for people on the site. The more connections you have, the more likely you will have a connection to the searcher. Closer connections, such as a second degree compared to a third-degree connection, improve your ranking in searches.

No one knows the secret formula of the algorithm, but we have identified a few methods for optimizing profiles for an enhanced push/pull strategy.

Build Your Connectivity

  • Increased connections = increased visibility
  • Connect beyond your usual circle
  • Connect with people who can help others in your network and who you can help
  • College and community
  • Look for affinity points/interests

Connect with Recruiters

Every job seeker wants to connect with a recruiter, and they all go about it by cold emailing their resume. That doesn’t work too often. Better is having a mutual contact deliver it. Even better is when you already know the recruiter and have worked with him for years as someone who gave him searches to fill. There is some room to land in between the last two, if you weren’t providing recruiters with searches. Below is just a few lines of copy sure to get a recruiter’s attention to send along with an invitation to connect on LinkedIn.

Sample Invitation Copy:

“I noticed you conduct searches in my industry. I would like to connect with you, and I invite you to consider me as a resource for candidates for any of your searches. I will also send you my resume via email. Please keep me in mind if I am a match for any of your future projects.”

This is close to a guarantee that the recruiter will look at your profile. You have your platform to be seen. You didn’t ask for a job. You offered to help the recruiter with his searches. That makes you a resource and interesting. Help him with a search and he’ll be much more open to helping you with your search. By flipping the relationship on its head you’ve gotten the recruiter’s attention. From there it’s a whole lot easier to have a conversation about what a great candidate you are… because you’ve already made a deposit in the networking bank.

“If we create networks with the sole intention of getting something, we won’t succeed. We can’t pursue the benefits of networks; the benefits ensue from investments in meaningful activities and relationships.” −Adam Grant

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William Flamme

William Flamme

William Flamme is ExecuNet's Associate Director of Content Marketing, where he develops engaging job search, career path, and leadership insight to build ExecuNet's brand recognition as the leader in senior-level executive job search and all matters career.

He delivers executive-level content across the various properties under the ExecuNet brand, amplifying the power of ExecuNet's expert voices and shaping the content strategy.

Prior to joining ExecuNet in 2008, Will earned a master's degree in education and taught fifth grade and sixth grade. As a teacher, he deepened his appreciation for the written word and mastered skills necessary for managing writers who sometimes view deadlines as homework. It is his training as an educator which allows Will to take complex ideas and make them simple for busy executives to understand and to execute.

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