A text message flashes up on our phone screen: “Hey, good luck on the interview. I know you will ace it. Let me know how it goes!”
Now imagine more messages like this from people you’ve worked with professionally in your past and present, virtually or in person. These additional means of support are crucial in your job search, especially when you need references, a letter of recommendation or even a mentor or advice-giver.
But they don’t just pop up out of nowhere. You need to foster these relationships regularly so it doesn’t turn people off when you really do need them. No one likes to feel used or as if they’re good for nothing more than helping you.
Here are four ways to engage with your LinkedIn connections throughout your professional career, whether you’re searching for a job or not.
When you meet someone new in your professional journey, whether in person or via video call, make note of their names and connect with them on LinkedIn within one week.
When you send a connection request, include a personalized note. For example:
Hi [insert name]! It was a pleasure meeting with you on Monday to discuss our upcoming project. I look forward to working with you.
This is a great opportunity to have meaningful connections with people you’ve actually worked or interacted with.
If you have a good experience with someone you worked with on a project or volunteer opportunity, leave a Recommendation on their LinkedIn profile. When you submit it, shoot them a message and let them know how great it was working with them. This could entice them to write you one back and work great as testimonials to show potential employers during your job search.
Your virtual connections might be halfway around the world or across the country, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be present in their virtual lives. When your connections share content or an article, land a new job, get a promotion or post an update to their profile, let them know you see it.
In a rush? Simply like it. Have some time? Comment. Write out your congratulations or how much you enjoyed reading the article they posted. Customize your response by including their name, use a smiley face emoji or a thumbs up. Did they write a book, article or reach a major milestone? Share their post with a personalized message.
These small tips will help you stand out and be remembered, so when you go to them for assistance, they’ll remember you took the time out of your day for them and they’ll be more likely to return the favor.
When you fill your feed with the types of professionals you aspire to be, people you look up to, you’ll gain insight into how they speak, what types of content they share and the types of work they do that helped get them where they are.
Surrounding yourself, even online, with like-minded people will help you in your job search by giving you prime examples of success and the journey to it. Sometimes listening with an open mind is education in and of itself.
When you are embarking on your job search journey, you need all the friends, connections and people cheering you on that you can get, in real life and on your phone or computer screen.
But remember: Finding genuine friends on socials does not happen overnight. Put effort into engaging with your connections and they’ll be there to put in the effort for you when you need it.