linkedin logoIf you’re reading this blog post, you most likely are already aware of what LinkedIn is, what are its benefits, and even more importantly, how to use it. You’re a career minded professional reading Gov-Talk for Pete’s sake!

As a LinkedIn user, you may be tired of the disingenuous and impersonal networking that occurs in this space. Personally, on an everyday basis, I receive connection requests from people I’ve never met or would even interact with in passing. LinkedIn can feel like a cold place that takers interact within. Most content for young professionals on LinkedIn focuses on the basics of the site, though this article will be about using LinkedIn to become a better relationship builder and networker.

LinkedIn can be a place of comradery and true relationship building. As a young professional, regardless of your employment in the private, public, or nonprofit sector, LinkedIn can serve both as the rolodex of the 21st century as well as a key connection tool to strengthen ties and provide value to those in your network. Here are three techniques (of many) that I use on a regular basis within LinkedIn to build better and stronger professional relationships.

Personalize all connection notices

By simply typing someone’s name and adding a personal note to him or her when you connect, you show that you respect them and their time. Within your connection notice, include some detail from the recent interaction that you’ve had and make it personal. I have received feedback from numerous connections that they felt this strategy was extremely thoughtful and it sparked further dialogue moving forward. Many connections respond directly to the connection notice, something that rarely ever happens when you do not personalize the connection request.

Use the messaging feature to provide value

If I read an article online or notice a resource that I believe a colleague would enjoy or find valuable, I share it with them in a personal message. Not only does it provide the connection value, but it is an easy way to reconnect with those you haven’t interacted with in a while and break the ice. That way, you don’t only reconnect when you are in need of something. 

Make introductions among your contacts to help others grow their networks

This is one of the easiest and most beneficial opportunities you can take advantage of within LinkedIn. If a colleague would like to find a new job in a specific location, at a specific company, or in an industry, I search my contacts by these filters and easily introduce them in a message. By sending this message, I enable the two connections to meet and continue the conversation without me.

Each of these three tactics are easy, five-minute favors that can help strengthen your network and allow you to build authentic relationships with your colleagues. Moving forward, you’ll be able to use LinkedIn for its intended purpose of linking people together.

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