How to use LinkedIn to reach the next level of your career (The Step-by-step Guide)
If you want 1 year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people.
The quality of our professional network is a powerful determinant of our professional success, but it is often ignored. I’m here to give you the steps to build and leverage a high-quality professional network —
Determine the Destination
The first step to reaching the next level of your career is knowing where you want to go. Take some time and reflect where you see yourself in your career.
Do you want to become an entrepreneur in the food industry?
Do you want to get a Masters in Finance?
Do you want to get into a different company?
Find out the next step of your career and write down the key words related to it. (There is a magical association between writing a goal down and achieving it. Trust me!)
For example —
CEO Food Company X
MS (Finance) College Y
Position ABC, Company Z
LinkedIn has made networking so easy for us! It is time we put it to test. Open your LinkedIn account and use the search bar to search for people who are currently pursuing the goals you aspire to pursue.
For example, if you want to work as a Software Engineer in PayPal, search for the keywords “Software Engineer PayPal”.
Your search result should ideally lead you to a list of people. This isn’t just a list of people, it is a blueprint of who you need to become to reach your goals.
Open up the profile of at least 20 people in the search results and note down their educational background, volunteering experience and work experience.
This exercise will give you a list of skills, degrees and experiences that could help you to transition towards your goal career.
If you wish to gain a degree in any field, use Google to find out the best Universities that offer that degree.
If you wish to gain similar experiences, find organizations near you where you can volunteer.
Once you have indulged in your list and gained a taste of what it takes to reach the next level of your career, it is time to talk to some real people. Go back to LinkedIn and search for the key words you searched for previously. This time you’ll send short (meaningful) messages to at least 50 people. The message should ideally convey four things —
- Who are you?
- What are you currently doing?
- Where do you want to go (professionally)?
- Why are you talking to them?
For example —
I’m Abhishek, a technologist at PayPal. I wish to leverage the skills I’ve acquired in PayPal to transition into an entrepreneurship role in the food industry. I would like to ask you a few questions about your entrepreneurship journey. Please let me know a time that works for you.
Once you contact a bunch of people, you’ll begin to see a steady stream of responses. In my experience about 40% of the people you contact will get back to you. To the people who get back to you —
- Set up a call at a time that works for THEM.
- Start the call on TIME.
- Ask them questions about the experience you’ve acquired in the ‘Get “Linked”In’ step
This exercise will serve two purposes —
- You’ll talk to people who are in the role you wish to transition to. You’ll get a lot of inside information. This will help you understand if this role is really suited for you.
- You’ll give the impression to the other person that you are someone who is passionate about that role. In case their organization starts hiring for that role, they can refer you instantly!
LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool, if used correctly. Here are the steps that will help you build the right connections to transition to your dream career —
- Determine the next step of your career. Introspect and reflect.
- Do a LinkedIn search for the role that interests you and find out all the skills that these people possess. Commit to acquiring those skills.
- Reach out to the people who work in your dream role. Schedule calls with them, share your experiences and learn from their experiences. At the end of this step you should have a network of people who can vouch for your passion towards your dream role.
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