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Asked by Elizabeth on July 25, 2017

I know I should be taking advantage of LinkedIn to network as a recent college graduate, but I'm not sure who I should be connecting with. Do you have any advice?

Answered by Amy , Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on July 26, 2017

Hello!
The first thing I would do is begin connecting with your colleagues. Those colleagues should be people you have met in real life and know you as an individual. You can also connect with those you haven't met in person but you know enough about them to be able to describe them to another person and vice versa. This boils down to your friends, professors, family, colleagues from past jobs, etc. Once you have assembled your "real life" network I would begin targeting those business professionals whom work for companies or industries you are interested in. However, I would look to see what intermediary connections you have with the individual your targeting (by going to the "How You Are Connected Tool) and connect with them to see if they would be willing to introduce you. This is why it is important for you to initially connect with those people you know because then they are willing to vouch for you because they KNOW you. This way you have a higher chance of connecting with your targeted individual because they were greeted by a direct introduction. As you continue to network in person, keep in mind that you can “connect” with individuals on LinkedIn after meeting them. This can help grow your network and continue building professional connections that could lead to opportunities later on.
Hope this helps!

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Answered by Ashlyn, Hiring Expert at Worthington Industries, on July 31, 2017

Hello!
This is a good question. I would start with connecting with your peers, people you've gone to school with and those people who you've met through clubs and extracurriculars. I would then connect with people you've met throughout your career, whether you've had an internship or are currently employed full time. You do not want to be sending out mass amounts of connection requests so try to keep it to people you know. Once you've established that network you can then start reaching out to people you'd like to know (people who work at a company you're interested in, those in the same field as you, etc.). Make sure when connecting you send a quick note to those people letting them know why you're connecting with them. Good luck!

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Answered by Tony, Hiring Expert at Hill-Rom, on August 2, 2017

Great question! You can connect with a wide variety of different people for various different reasons. To get started I would begin with people that you know such as friends, classmates, professors, former co-workers, etc. I would then follow groups or companies that you may be interested in as this can help with future networking. Once you have established a solid network of LinkedIn connections that you know personally you can then begin to connect with people who work at certain companies or in certain industries that interest you. While doing this, be aware of anyone that may be already connected with them as you can use this to personalize your message and make you introduction a warm one instead of randomly sending out mass LinkedIn invites.

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Answered by James, Hiring Expert at Broadridge, on August 4, 2017

LinkedIn is a great way to build your professional network. Start by your first ring of contacts; current colleagues, past supervisors/colleagues, professors, and classmates. From there, you can connect with recruiters and or managers that you interview with.

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