Huffpost Business
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Liz Ryan Headshot

Five LinkedIn Networking Questions

Posted: Updated:

Dear Liz,

I saw that a friend of mine (who's a first-degree LinkedIn connection of mine) knows a guy I want to meet. How do I use LinkedIn to reach the guy, since I don't have his email address?

Thanks,

Jerome

Dear Liz,

When you find the "target" person's LinkedIn profile (by searching on his name, for instance, using the People Search function of Linked that you'll find in the upper right-hand corner of almost every LinkedIn page), click on the link next to his photo, called Get Introduced Through a Connection. Assuming the fellow is a first-degree connection of your friend, you'll be one "hop" away from him (your mutual friend is the hop) and you'll be able to reach out to him, through her. (Her contact settings may prohibit overtures from other LinkedIn users, but that's your best bet.) The site will prompt you to create two messages - one to the guy, and one to your friend -- as you make the friend-of-a-friend outreach.

Best,

Liz

Dear Liz,

No one I know is actually connected on LinkedIn to a woman I'm interested in contacting. Am I sunk?

Thanks,

Carolyn

Dear Carolyn,

No way! The world of people is getting more porous by the minute. For starters, you can see whether you're a member of any LinkedIn Groups in common with the woman you want to reach. If you are, you can reach her that way (assuming her contact settings allow overtures from other LinkedIn users). If you don't have any Groups in common, you can still reach her by upgrading your LinkedIn membership to allow you to blast off InMail messages to other users.

Cheers,

Liz

Dear Liz,

I'm job-hunting and not working. I can't decide whether to leave my LinkedIn headline the way it is now ("Product Manager, Acme Dynamite") or change it to show that I'm job-hunting. Is that too desperate?

Thanks,

Jacob

Dear Jacob,

Desperate? If you don't use your LinkedIn profile, specifically your headline (the field just under your name) to let people know you're job-hunting, they'll assume you're still over at Acme Dynamite. There are desperate ways to job-hunt (a sandwich board on the entrance ramp to the freeway springs to mind) but an accurate LinkedIn headline isn't one of them. Change your headline pronto, to "Tech Product Manager ISO Next Startup to Grow" or something that describes you. Headhunters and hiring managers troll LinkedIn all the time looking for available talent, and you want them to find you (and contact you), rather than move on, so make this change now! Also, make sure your LinkedIn profile has all the keywords in it that will help hiring managers and recruiters find you.

Regards,

Liz

Dear Liz,

I am on LinkedIn but I don't have any first-degree contacts. Is that a big drawback for me?

Thanks,

Lucille

Dear Lucille,

That's a big drawback! LinkedIn is an incredible research tool, a connection-and-introduction engine, and a sort of collective Rolodex for professional people. All of these capabilities grow exponentially when you develop a network of first-degree (and simultaneously, second-and-third degree) connections.

Start by downloading your Outlook, Gmail or another address book to see which of your friends is already using LinkedIn. These are the first people you'll invite to join your network, because these guys are already using the site and can join your network (you'll join theirs in the same instant) with only a click or two. After that, check out the Colleagues tab to see which co-workers from your past jobs is using LinkedIn, and invite them to join your network, too. There's a ton to say on the topic of inviting people to join your LinkedIn network -- get in touch with me to learn more about that.

Yours,

Liz

Dear Liz,

I have a LinkedIn profile but it's not very complete. Will that make a difference in my use of LinkedIn?

Thanks,

Corey

Dear Corey,

By all means Corey, build out your LinkedIn profile when you have a chance. Your profile is where people learn about you - not just the bare facts of where you've worked and for how long, but how you write ( = how you think), your perspective on your career, your contacts (a credibility-builder if there ever were one), your glowing endorsements from other LinkedIn users, your full-text resume if you like (and other documents that speak to your career cred - let's say, a Powerpoint presentation and a white paper), your Groups, your education -- the possibilities are nearly infinite!

Your LinkedIn profile is a wonderful, free professional billboard for you. Don't give it a cursory once-over. Build that puppy out, Corey! It will take you about an hour to do that thoroughly, and your personal brand will get much stronger from that moment forward.

Best,

Liz