Lesson 5: Identifying Valuable Connections

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First, I want to walk you through the anatomy of a LinkedIn network. Your LinkedIn network is going to be made up of 1st Connections, 2nd Connections, 3rd Connections, and beyond.

Your 1st Connections are the LinkedIn users who are directly connected to you - in Facebook terms, this would be equivalent to Facebook friends.

Your 2nd Connectionss are the LinkedIn users who are directly connected to your 1st Connections, but not to you; in Facebook terms, this is equivalent to the friends of your friends.

Your 3rd Connections are the third tier of connections on LinkedIn that you still may be able to connect with and send messages to. When we're going to be talking about your valuable connections on LinkedIn, we're mostly going to be talking about your 1st and 2nd Connections.

Identifying Valuable Connections

What do you think makes a connection valuable?

When referring to valuable connections, I'm talking about the LinkedIn users who are going to engage with you, support you, and benefit you in some way. These are the LinkedIn users who are not only going to communicate with you but they're going to network, build a relationship, and hopefully refer you to potential job opportunities that they hear about or to employers that they know are looking for candidates just like you.

Therefore, it's important when you're adding connections to your LinkedIn Network to think “How is this person going to benefit me? Is this LinkedIn user going to communicate with me, engage with me, endorse my skills, give me a recommendation, or potentially refer me to an employer that I would like to work for?" These are the things you need to think about when you're building and growing your LinkedIn Network.

How to Find Your Valuable Connections

There are three primary ways to find your valuable connections on LinkedIn. Some of your first most valuable connections are going to be your family members, friends, co-workers, and classmates. These are the people who are familiar with your work ethic, your career goals, and your skills already. The best way to find them on LinkedIn is to import your contacts list from your email to LinkedIn. You were probably prompted to do this when you first created an account and if you didn't do it yet, there is a way to go back and access that feature.

The second primary way to find your valuable connections is by screening your 1st Connections' network (in other words, looking for your 2nd Connections). There are potentially a lot of valuable connections you didn't think about, and the best way to find them is by screening the network of your 1st Connections.

The third way is by using LinkedIn’s search feature. LinkedIn’s search bar is a great way to find people based on keywords, their name, location, etc. There are a bunch of different ways to use LinkedIn’s search feature, but something you need to keep in mind is that by using LinkedIn search (using keywords and location but not specific names) is going to count against the Commercial Use Limit. If you have a free account, you can only do so many searches in a month and then it'll reset at the first of the next month. There isn't a black-and-white answer as to how many searches you can do, but LinkedIn does send you a warning when you are approaching that Commercial Use Limit. Keep that in mind when you're going to be searching on LinkedIn.

The video will show you how to import your email contacts using LinkedIn's desktop view, how to explore your 2nd Connections using both LinkedIn's desktop view and mobile app, and how to access the filter settings within LinkedIn's search function.

So, who are your valuable connections? This lesson’s action task is going to ask you to create a list of 15 valuable connections that you can find on LinkedIn.

Create a list of LinkedIn users who may be new valuable connections including (5) family members or friends, (5) current or former co-workers, (2) current or former supervisors, and (3) additional colleagues or classmates.

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