LinkedIn is the Facebook of professionals. It has over 300 million users from various careers seeking to hobnob with someone either in their field, or looking for a job. It boasts influential people such as Barack Obama, Taylor Swift and even Mark Zuckerberg who lists himself as self-employed. They might not be your favourite people but they have too many admirers that seek their attention daily, to only pay attention to you. When you admire someone on LinkedIn there is normally a professional reason why you do so. They are either high achievers or are connected enough to land you a job that may possibly improve your social standing from ‘common guy’ to ‘common guy working for an icon’. Some people also want to find love. HR frowns upon office romance but several couples meet at the office and make out in stalled elevators daily. This is inevitable since most people spend over 30% of their adult lives at work. The following are systematic steps that will give you an advantage when you want to connect with people that you admire- improving your profile to get an actual contact. The first and obvious one is to join LinkedIn.
1. Get a Professional Photo
Human beings tend to be visual creatures, hence the saying that ‘Seeing is believing’. This is part of the engine that makes Instagram very successful. Your profile photo does not necessarily have to break the Internet like the most famous Kardashian, but it has to be professionally done. This also has to be balanced with the career outlook that you want people to see and specifically the person that you admire. For instance, if you are a painter then it is appropriate for you to have one of your paintings in the background of your picture but ensure that they are not nudes. If you cannot get a professional to take your photo then at least have a professional-looking one. Luckily, very few people will be able to tell the difference especially if you use a good resolution camera in a well-lit environment. Please note that a candle is too romantic.
2. Get a Recommendation
There is nothing that works better than word of mouth. LinkedIn takes advantage of this through the use of recommendations. The commandment of getting these is simple; recommend others and thou shalt be equally recommended. Make sure that it is relevant to your career. A comment praising your ability to down a Big Mac Burger in five seconds will not count. Having one from someone who is also directly connected to the person you admire is a definite plus. At least you will not look like a stalker once you make contact with him or her.
3. Follow the Relevant Company
The person that you admire is normally a mogul in his or her own right. If they do not own a company, then their name is a brand that can make a mountain jump from one continent to the next. Well, not literally, but you get the point. Only one call from them to whoever is making your life a living hell is enough to turn the tide of suffering. That is the reason you admire them. They dreamt and are now living what they envisioned. Before invading their InMail with your messages of admiration and requests for jobs, make sure you know what they really do and what they are passionate about. He or she will share updates, presentations and publish posts. You can go through them to gauge their likes and dislikes. This will come in handy in the next steps. They will also have events that they are hosting. In case you have an opportunity to attend then do not miss the chance to directly network. There is a grey zone between stalking and networking, so be careful to avoid it. Keep your lucky first contact strictly professional since it will form the basis of your follow up.
4. Check Who Views Your Profile and Why
Once you have uploaded your professional-looking photo, added your job history, achievements and got recommendations, you need to know who is looking at your profile and why. The first part is easy since LinkedIn provides the feature free of charge. You only need to pay for a premium account when you need to see the details of a viewer who choose to remain anonymous. The purpose of paying attention to whoever is checking your profile is to enable your understanding of what or why they are interested in you. You can then narrow down your profile to what works and dump what does not. You can even request a connection with them in order to increase your reach. This will lead you a step closer to getting in touch with the person that you admire.
5. Start a Group
LinkedIn is all about getting the most relevant connections in the shortest time possible. Starting a LinkedIn group is sometimes the fastest way to get as many connections as you can. Since it is a professional network, a group named ‘Staring Contest Masters’ may not get you as many connections as you need to help you increase your chances of getting in touch with the person you admire. If you are a field reporter, make the group name catchy, yet professional, for example ‘On The Front Line Reporters’ or you can even make it region specific by including the name of your region. You will instantly get all the relevant connections and requests based on that region.
6. Get Your Message Read
The final step is to write to the person that you admire a message. LinkedIn provides options of message templates but you should avoid using them. People can spot a mechanized message from a mile away. Your message will get lost amid many others and your window of opportunity will snap shut, faster than the leaves of a Venus Flytrap. You need to personalize it. Write a specific title and then introduce yourself. If you were lucky enough to meet him or her at an event that you attended you have one leg up to successful contact. Tell that person the reason you are writing that message. Try to avoid asking for help in the first sentence. Be as practical as possible and give that person several options. For instance, if you need a job, ask if he or she can give you one or connect you to someone who is looking to hire. You can add that you are willing to volunteer your services when the duty is relevant to what you do. This will open room for conversation and give the impression that you are not only looking for a handout but are willing to work for a position as well.
The key is to start the journey of contacting the person you admire, the way you want to finish it. The person that you admire might be an avid social media participant and reply to you immediately. It might not be a celebrity or a Nobel Prize winner, but the above steps will really raise your profile views and give you a chance to get their attention at some point and eventually keep them interested in you.
Have you ever tried to get someone’s attention on LinkedIn? Was it successful? Let us know your tips or experience in the comments section below.