Do you use LinkedIn to network with colleagues, business professionals, and potential customers? If so, you’re probably somewhat familiar with the Search function that exists within the site. In fact, you probably use the standard People Search option most often. It’s supposed to be the simplest way to find a connection you are looking for. Here’s a brief description from the site:
“People Search in the search box lets you quickly find the person you are looking for by title,company, school, name, or other characteristics. Don’t worry about knowing the full name or exact search term. Just type in the relevant keywords and hit search. You can also quickly find one of your connections by typing their name and clicking on the suggestions that will be automatically generated” (Source).
Here’s the problem with the Search system within LinkedIn: it’s extremely complicated and hard to understand if you aren’t familiar with all the customizable options that exist (I’d be willing to bet that the average person on LinkedIn isn’t very familiar).
- There are too many options to decide from when choosing how you want to initially set up your search parameters. According to LinkedIn you can, “organize your results by clicking on the “Sort by” link on the top of the results to sort by: Relevance (the most relevant match based on your keywords and network are shown first), Relationships (First degree, second degree and groups are shown first in that order), and Relationship+Recommendations (the closest match that is one of your connections and has the most recommendations) and Keyword (the best match based solely on your query)” (Source).
- There are too many ways to view the search results that LinkedIn sends back to you.
- There is an advanced search feature that requires you to know a lot of specific information about a connection you are looking for.
The bottom line is that while the LinkedIn Search system does offer a variety of ways to find connections, it’s ultimately unnecessarily complicated. In some cases, this, combined with having to search for someone who has a common name (ex. John Smith), can make it extremely hard to find the connection you are actually looking for.
For this reason, I have a few recommendations for you that will help ensure that your LinkedIn profile can be found by business professionals looking to connect with you on LinkedIn. They are as follows:
- Make sure you have set a unique “vanity URL” for your LinkedIn profile. For example, mine is http://www.linkedin.com/in/AlexMandossian.
- Add this link to your LinkedIn profile on your Facebook page, your Twitter account, your website, and your blog.
- Add this link to the business cards you hand out to people at networking events, luncheons, or other meetings.
- Add this link to your email signature.
Don’t rely on LinkedIn Search to be found on the site. If you are interested in gaining more connections on LinkedIn, you must take more proactive steps offsite to ensure the people looking to connect with you can find you.
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