269: Three Tips to Improve Your Networking Skills on LinkedIn

269: Three Tips to Improve Your Networking Skills on LinkedIn

In this episode, I share three valuable tips to improve your networking skills on LinkedIn. These tips are related to how to tackle the issue of not knowing how to find the right people, what to say when you reach out to them, and what to do during the follow up to maintain momentum. Tune in for actionable advice to enhance your community and relationship building effectively.

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269: Three tips to improve your networking skills on LinkedIn

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Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: [00:00:00] Have you ever heard the phrase, it's not what you know, it's who you know? Have you ever seen some folks who are less competent than you land some of the best jobs? And have you found yourself hearing advice from others to network and meet new people, and yet you're still not doing it? If this is you, then you want to listen to today's episode all about the Three tips to improve your networking skills on LinkedIn.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Welcome to the top global ranked and award nominated grad school femtoring podcast. The place for first gen BIPOCs to listen in on conversations about grad school, and growth. In this podcast, you'll learn about [00:01:00] all things higher education, personal development, and sustainable productivity. This is Dr.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Yvette Martinez Vu, and I will be serving as your femtor, providing you with tips and tricks and everything else you need to know to successfully navigate grad school. For over 14 years, I've been empowering first gen students of color along their personal and professional journeys, and I'm really excited to support you too.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Welcome back, everyone. This is your host, Dr. Yvette. Today's episode is all about helping you improve your networking skills, and I'm going to keep it short and sweet and talk about three things that have come up for some of my clients that are obstacles that are getting in the way of them successfully networking.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And I'm specifically using, , some examples related to LinkedIn because that is a really [00:02:00] great way to do your networking. It's a social media platform that's a Built for networking. No, I don't get paid by LinkedIn to promote them. , it just so happens to be a tool that I use all the time to build connections and because I'm well versed in it, I am talking about it today.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So let's dive straight in to one of the first obstacles that can come up. You might tell someone to network and maybe you're the person that someone's told you to network and then you go online, you start to search, you go on LinkedIn and you find yourself stumped. And I realized that sometimes what folks need is a little bit of help with finding the right search terms.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So once you have identified the field that you want to network in, so the field that you want to find professionals to meet up and talk to in, [00:03:00] you're going to have to figure out the search terms to find these people. A couple of ways that , I've been able to search for individuals that I'm trying to network with is by targeting specific organization names, by targeting variations of similar type of work, , and also by looking up specific titles.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So Let me give you an example. If you are dreaming of working for this very specific organization, then you can do a targeted search. You might be someone who knows you want to keep working in higher ed, and you are a TRIO alum, and you want to keep working for TRIO. So you might search for folks who have TRIO on their LinkedIn profile.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So you're gonna Simply search TRIO, see what people show up, see what titles they have, and if they have the right titles, you reach out to them. That's one [00:04:00] example. Similarly, maybe you're someone who really wants to work for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, so you search anyone who has What if you, , find out about this really cool organization called Re Up Education that helps adult learners go back to school after taking some time off?

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Then maybe you're going to search who in my network works for Re Up Education, and if not, , who shows up first when I search for this very specific company? That's one way. The other way, again, going back to this conversation about finding the right search terms, is variations of the same kind of work.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So let's say you're someone who has a lot of support. with helping people land jobs. , so if you want to work for a career services center, you [00:05:00] might have to not just search career services, but also search career center, career coaching, , career support. So different variations of the same type of work is what you're searching for.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Now, when you're thinking about specific titles, Let's say, you know, you want to do work in DEI, you might be searching for Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, or even Associate Director of DEI. The point is you're trying to find the titles that include the type of work that you want to do, but there might be different variations of that title.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: That's why you don't want to stick to one title. Same thing, different variations of what that program, organization, office calls themselves. So you want to have some variation there. , so make sure that no matter what you're finding the right search terms to help you [00:06:00] find the people that you want to connect with.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Next, another common obstacle that gets in the way of people reaching out to folks. Even if they find the right person to reach out to, is that they get stuck with what to say. Especially on LinkedIn, when you send a connection request, you have the option to send a note. And folks get stumped because there is a 300 word, or no actually, 300 character limit on LinkedIn, as far as I know.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So you are limited in how long the message is that you send out. And you have to be very brief. So what do you say if you're trying to send a note to connect with someone? Well, first you want to figure out in what capacity are you connecting with them? Are you connecting with them because you just want to add them to your network and maybe in the future you might ask for an informational interview?

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Or are you connecting with them because you're ready to ask them for an informational interview right now? [00:07:00] So it depends. So let's say you are just kind of exploring, but you're not sure. Maybe it's a busy season. You don't really want to add some informational interviews on your calendar, but you want to keep building your network, at least on LinkedIn.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: In this case, you can say something like, Hello, or Hi, my name is And I'm a, and I'm going to use the example of a grad student, because I know a lot of you are grad students that listen to my podcast. And I'm a grad student with experience in Y. I came across your profile and noticed that we both have this thing in common, so you want to personalize it.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And then you say, I'm exploring opportunities in said industry or field, and I'd be grateful to connect. That's it. You're just asking to connect. You're asking them to accept your request for a connection. That's it. You're not asking for anything else. It always helps to add a personalized memo to increase the likelihood that they will [00:08:00] accept your connection request.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: That's it. So introduce themselves, say a little bit more about you. Say a little bit more about them, maybe something you have in common and ask to connect. Now, if you're ready to ask for an informational interview, here's something you could say. You could say, Hello, I'm X. So say your name. I'm a recent graduate, interested in Y.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So say the field or industry you're interested in. And so and so recommended I reach out. It's always great when you have a friend. a mutual connection. It's always great if you have a referral. So you say so and so recommended I reach out to you. Your accomplishments in this area are impressive. I'm exploring career opportunities and would appreciate a brief half hour informational interview to learn more about your career challenges and advice for breaking into this field.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I look forward to hearing from you. So very short [00:09:00] and sweet. Who you are, what you're interested in, why you're reaching out to them, who you have in common, and make the ask. A half hour informational interview. You can even ask for 15 minutes of their time. If you feel weird about asking for half an hour, you can say I'd appreciate if we can get on a brief 15 minute call to learn more about your career journey, about Um, and any advice you have on breaking into this field, that's it.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So find the language and make sure that you send a personalized note. If you're not doing this on LinkedIn, Same thing applies to email. Send a personalized email. Nothing sounds worse than something that's overly generic or, I mean, I do this sometimes. I send connection requests without notes. But if it's someone that I really for sure want to connect with, I will take the time to write a personalized memo.[00:10:00]

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Now, The third obstacle that comes up for folks is that they reach a plateau or they reach a point where they're like, Oh, I have already reached out to everyone that I can think of. And what's next? So if this happens for you, you've already conducted a few informational interviews. And you still feel like you want to connect with more people, but you don't know who.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: One thing you want to make sure to do is to ask others to refer you to your next connection, or consider building up the relationship with someone you've already met with. So if it's the former, you want them to refer you, make sure you Send them a thank you email or thank you memo and ask them if there's anyone in their network that you can reach out to.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: That way you have that mutual connection. It increases your chances of that other person saying yes to you. If you [00:11:00] really liked the conversation we had, you had with them, if you felt like you built up a really great rapport and you want to Build a professional relationship with them. You can also acknowledge that you can say, thank you so much for your time.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Or thank you so much for meeting with me. I really enjoyed our conversation about X, Y, and Z. I resonated a lot with what you shared. Let me know if you'd be open to staying in touch. So that gives you. The consent or them giving you the green light that yes, the feeling is mutual. Let's stay in touch That's super helpful because I don't think we talk about enough when it comes to networking about not just the importance of meeting new people but also the importance of Building and sustaining these relationships over time.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Some of my best Greatest connections that have led to some pretty cool opportunities have been with people who I have sustained relationships with and no, it doesn't mean I'm talking to them every week or [00:12:00] every other week or even every month. Some folks I only talk to once every few months. I even recently met up with someone who I hadn't talked to in over a year.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And yet, We're still in touch. I still might, you know, every now and then send them a resource that reminds me of them. I still might every now and then, um, you know, tag them on something that might be helpful for them. I'm still thinking of them and I still consider them as part of my broader network. I still mention their names and places that they are not around and I know the feeling is mutual because I sense it.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So even if I don't have a meeting with them, Regularly, I know they're still part of my network and I know there's still a relationship I want to keep building and if it's been too long, I will reach out and say, it's been a while, would love to catch up, um, and that's what works for me because I, I mean, realistically I cannot be meeting with every single person in my network regularly.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I just don't have all the hours in the day to do that. [00:13:00] But I can sustain it in a way that feels right for both of us. Sending each other resources, thinking of each other, meeting every couple of months, even once a year, something, whatever works for you. So in short, just to summarize what I talked about today, in terms of the three tips to improve your networking skills on LinkedIn is one, find the right search terms, two, send a personalized note with your connection request and three.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Ask to have others refer you to your next connection and or build up that pre existing relationship. That's it for today's episode. I hope you found it helpful. And like always, I'll talk to you all next time.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Thanks so much for joining me in the Grad School Femtoring Podcast. If you [00:14:00] like what you heard, here are four ways you can support the show. The first is to make sure you're subscribed and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. If you email me a screenshot, I'll send you a surprise freebie. The second way is to get your copy of my free Grad School Femtoring Resource Kit.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: which includes essential information to prepare for and navigate grad school. You can access it at the link in today's show notes. The third way to support my show is to follow me on social media. You can find me on Instagram with the handle at grad school, femtoring and on LinkedIn by searching my name.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: The last way to show your love is to order a copy of is grad school for me. My graduate school admissions book for first gen BIPOCs. Thanks again for listening and until next time.

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