If you’re anything like me or the 15 million other American adults who suffer from social anxiety, then you know exactly how daunting it is to interact with strangers. Every time I hear the word network, or think about having to network I start internally panicking. Cue Sheldon hyperventilating gif.
However, I can not deny the simple fact that networking is one of the best ways to increase your visibility in the job market and open the door to more opportunities. The economy is doing us no favors and layoffs are popping up way more frequently than any of us want to see. Employees in the tech and media industry are struggling to stay afloat… it is brutal out here. The way the job market has been moving as of late, it is imperative that you lean in to as many opportunities as possible to land the job that fits your lifestyle needs.
One of the best platforms to capitalize on your network is of course LinkedIn. If you’re not on LinkedIn I highly suggest creating a profile as your first step. Even if you do not search for job opportunities directly on the platform, it is still a great networking source to have in your arsenal. But, when you’ve left your college days behind and haven’t had a new job in a while it may feel like your network has gone a little stagnant. (Which… it really isn’t but I understand why it may feel that way).
If you’re in a networking funk and want to get that oh so eye catching “500+ connections” on LinkedIn here are five ways to increase your LinkedIn connections that won’t set off your social anxiety too much.
Similar to Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups give you the opportunity to share a digital space with a group of people that have similar interests. You can join LinkedIn groups based on your current line of work / industry or you can join groups that align with the industry you’re trying to pivot into. By making connections in the group setting first, you decrease a bit of the nerves that come along with reaching out to someone “cold call” style. Discuss industry info, ask questions, post interesting content and actually engage with the people that respond.
YES job fairs are very much still relevant in today’s job market. Job fairs are an obvious great place to meet recruiters and hiring managers, but it is also a great place to meet professionals. Even if you don’t leave with a job interview or job offer at the fair (which does not happen as often as people make it seem), you should try to leave with at least 5-6 new LinkedIn connections that could be mutually beneficial down the line.
Similar to job fairs, there seems to be a “...con” for everything under the sun. These conferences are beneficial whether they align with your professional or personal interests. It may even be less anxiety inducing to network at a conference that doesn’t directly align with your work life. The key point to remember in this instance is to still approach it in a professional manner (how professional is really up to you). So instead of exchanging Instagram / TikTok handles consider connecting on LinkedIn to further extend the networking moment into a professional space. As long as you don’t exchange Snaps I’m already proud of you and your effort.
I know I know gross eww you are not a content creator and do not want to post content on LinkedIn. I hear you… but remember we’re going the anxiety free route when attempting to grow our network connections on LinkedIn. The content you’ll be posting on that platform is not the same type of content you would post on other social platforms like Instagram or TikTok. No one is asking you to do a little dancy dance here! I promise!
What I am asking you to do for the sake of growing your network is post status updates, industry related news articles, and other forms of professional content. This way people not only will interact, but you’re extending your reach through the grace of the LinkedIn algorithm gods. You ever notice that you see content from people you don’t follow on LinkedIn because one of your connections liked or engaged with their content? You see what I’m getting at here right? If you post interesting content that people engage with, you have the opportunity to show up unannounced on someone else’s feed outside of your network!
BONUS: The same goes for engaging and interacting with your connections’ content as well. The more you engage the more those 2nd and 3rd level connections will be cognizant of who you are. At the very least they’ll see your name popping up everywhere and their interest is likely to be piqued (speaking from experience at the very least I’ve tapped into profiles to see what that person may be about)
I’ve got my brand manager thinking cap on now! Everything is about marketing yourself. We email people back and forth all day everyday. If you’re looking for a low lift easy method to grow your LinkedIn connections and network, make people aware that you are on LinkedIn. I know it sounds simple enough, but every single person does not have every single social platform. Make sure that people know you have a LinkedIn profile that they can connect with you professionally on.
If you’re looking for more career development support during your job search join my free remote job board to gain access to weekly emails, weekly job board updates and a loud ass cheerleader in your corner during your job search! (me… I’m that loud ass cheerleader). You can sign up here! It’s also where I share the first opportunities to work with me for resume building, job application support and more!
Until next time,
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