Building LinkedIn Connections: Who Should I Connect with on LinkedIn and Why?

Jan 23, 2023 | LinkedIn

Who to connect with on LinkedIn

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know: Read on to learn how it pays to be intentional with your LinkedIn connections.

By: Davinia Osborne | Blog & Resume Writer at Let’s Eat, Grandma

It pays to be intentional about your LinkedIn connections.  

Why? The makeup of your netWORK can, directly and indirectly, impact your net WORTH.  

We’ve all heard that adage, It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

After all, 35.5 million people have been hired by one of their LinkedIn connections.  

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Are you seeking new opportunities to advance in your career? Would you like to use LinkedIn to add value to yourself as a candidate? Are you interested in expanding your network with more quality connections on LinkedIn? Do you need help determining whom you should connect with on LinkedIn? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, I’ve got you covered! 

In this blog, I will provide tips for whom to connect with on LinkedIn and explain how these connections will benefit you. 

Before we dive in…

What to consider about LinkedIn connections

people at a networking event

With LinkedIn, you can easily keep in touch with all the valuable connections you meet at networking events. Photo by Product School on Unsplash

Is it OK to connect with people you don’t know on LinkedIn? Yes! Let’s adjust your stranger-danger philosophy.

Consider this. When you’re at a networking event, do you only share your business card with the people you know? 

No, because you are there to make new connections and build relationships that can provide advice and influential contacts and help you gain new career opportunities. 

You do yourself a disservice when you limit your LinkedIn connections to only the people you know personally. 

After all, you probably only have a handful of close friends. Yet, according to a study by sociologist Mark Granovetter, our acquaintances are the ones most likely to introduce us to new ideas and opportunities.

So, keep an open mind when establishing LinkedIn connections. They might be your ticket to advancing your career.

Now, let’s get into the connections you should make on LinkedIn…

Must-have LinkedIn connections

1. People you meet

Speaking of professional meetings, how often have you wished you had a business card to pass along to someone you connect with during a company event or industry conference? 

Or what about when you are at a social gathering and make a friend whom you discover has a similar professional background or has an interest in doing business with you? 

Luckily, your LinkedIn profile can serve as a digital business card and a great resource to help people remember who you are and stay connected with you. 

2. Past and present colleagues and managers (who can and will provide recommendations and endorsements for your skills)

people smiling at work

Keeping in touch with colleagues you get along with can often help you find new opportunities down the road. Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Prioritize adding coworkers and managers to your LinkedIn profile. For one, they are more likely to accept your connection request and engage with your posts since they have a personal connection to you. 

What’s so great about coworkers engaging with your post, you ask? 

Well, besides the dopamine hit, whenever a  first-degree contact re-shares, comments on, or likes your content, it appears on their homepage along with the homepage of your second- and third-degree connections. 

That is, of course, if your post visibility is set to “Anyone,” which it should be if you are serious about growing your network. 

Additionally, as first-degree connections, your coworkers can endorse your skills and add recommendations to your profile.  

Recommendations and endorsements are important because they serve as social proof reinforcing that you are indeed the superstar you believe yourself to be. It’s not just in your head! 

Endorsements are a less demanding favor because they only require a click of a button, while recommendations are more in-depth. 

If you feel wary about requesting endorsements and recommendations from your coworkers, try endorsing their skills first and providing a recommendation. 

People are more likely to do something nice for you if you do something for them. That, folks, is what we call the Law of Reciprocity! 

If you need some extra tips, check out this article for how to ask for a LinkedIn recommendation. 

3. Recruiters  

Speaking of recommendations and endorsements, they go a long way in impressing this next group of must-have LinkedIn connections – recruiters and talent acquisition specialists! 

Now, as bold as it may appear to contact a recruiter online, it is socially acceptable and, in most cases, a welcome advance. 

LinkedIn is essentially Google for recruiters, with 97% of recruiters using the platform to find top talent among the 52 million jobseekers on the site. 

You could be the needle in the haystack they are searching for, and your connection request made their jobs that much easier. 

Connecting with recruiters will allow you access to a professional whose sole purpose on the site is to connect qualified candidates with companies that need them. 

Also, since recruiters tend to post job openings, you’ll get a chance to be among the first to apply for the job. 

Considering that the average job post gets 118 resume submissions, getting ahead of the flood of applications will significantly increase your chances of getting an interview. 

Here’s a great article to learn how to find and contact recruiters on LinkedIn to add additional value to your network. 

4. Your Dream Company (and the movers and shakers who work for them) 

person's linkedin page

It doesn’t hurt to follow the company you want to work for on LinkedIn, and maybe even connect with some of the employees. Photo by Nathana Rebouças on Unsplash

As previously mentioned, a single job post can get over 100 job applications.

What better way to get ahead of the competition than to follow the company you want to work for? 

Not only will you always see their job opening announcements, but you’ll also get updates on upcoming events, press releases, and company milestones. 

Never again will you draw a blank at the “So, what do you know about our company?” interview question. 

When you follow companies on LinkedIn, make sure to like, comment on, and share their posts. 

Engaging with their content is a surefire way to put yourself on their radar, as they will appreciate the positive attention. 

You can take it a step further by clicking on the company page and selecting “See all employees on LinkedIn,” then sorting through the employee list and engaging with the people who make hiring decisions.

Any active employee with “Talent Acquisition,” “Human Resources,” or “Director” in their title is fair game. You can send a connection request letting them know you are interested in a career with the company and would like to connect to gain updates on company developments and opportunities.

A client of mine, a digital brand specialist and recent graduate, landed a job precisely because she followed her dream company and engaged with its employees. Here’s what happened: 

  1. An HR employee from a German-based manufacturing company noticed my client’s comments on their posts, clicked on her profile, and was impressed by her optimized LinkedIn portfolio (completed by yours truly). 
  2. He contacted her about applying for a digital marketing internship that the company was starting in a few weeks.
  3. She applied, landed an interview, got the job, and moved from Italy to Germany to work and live the life of her dreams

I’m not saying that following your dream company on LinkedIn will lead to you automatically landing a job and leaving your country. However, optimizing your LinkedIn profile with one of our LEG writers will give you a LEG up on the competition. Ha-ha, see what I did there! 

(Corny joke aside, this is a reminder that our Premium Package includes a LinkedIn Profile Rewrite.) 

5. Industry-Recognized LinkedIn Influencers (and people who can add value to you as a candidate)

LinkedIn connections like job strategy influencers, researchers, and podcasts can liven up your feed with practical tips for your job search. Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

In the age of social media, “influencer” tends to be slapped on anyone with a platform and brand deal. Hence my “industry-recognized” qualifier.

Since LinkedIn is a professional social network, influencers on LinkedIn are often business and career giants that offer inspiration, motivation, and information to their followers. 

Personally, I follow career coaches, job search experts, and fellow resume writers who provide me with a wealth of helpful content daily. 

As a resume writer who is always seeking to learn and grow, connecting with industry-recognized experts is an excellent way for me to stay updated on industry standards and best practices. For example, the Career Warrior Podcast often includes interviews with industry experts providing advice on upgrading your career. 

No matter your industry or interest, there are LinkedIn influencers to follow that can give you ideas, tips, and inspiration. 

Now that you know whom to connect with, you can leverage your LinkedIn connections to help you land a new job. If you want to make yourself a more competitive candidate, our highly trained writers can help you do just that! 

For more on LinkedIn: 

5  Things Recruiters Want to See on Your LinkedIn Profile

How to Network on LinkedIn

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