Those interested in career trends probably already know about the importance of making new connections on LinkedIn and optimizing their profiles.
However, one thing that many professionals still struggle with is offering value to their professional network.
Offer value to your network? What does that even mean?
This means communicating with your network consistently, not just when you're on the job hunt and need something from one of your connections.
So, how do you offer value to your professional network?
Sometimes opportunities will present themselves where you'll come across connections that are in need of knowledge or skills that you possess. Make a note of what they are looking to do and ask yourself, “How can I help this person with their business initiatives? What support, resources, or connections can I offer them?" Once you figure all of that out, you'll be serving your network in no time.
Here are three SUPER easy ways to offer value to your LinkedIn connections:
Share An Article
This is the easiest way to start a conversation and/or keep in touch with a contact by offering value. Consider this person's industry, interests, and special projects. What can you find on their LinkedIn profile? What have you learned about them in your conversations?
If you come across an article (or video) that you think they would find interesting or helpful, don't be afraid to share it with them. You could say something like, "Saw this article and thought of you! Wanted to share. Enjoy!" That's it—easy. They will appreciate the gesture and will keep you in mind!
You can also just share articles on your feed for your entire network to see, with a message like "I thought this article made some good points. What do you think?" This could potentially lead to some good exchanges, and meaningful conversations with connections that you haven't spoken to in awhile.
Posting content is also a good way to make use of your own profile and stay relevant.
Share Their Content With Your Network
Sharing content works both ways, and another easy way to offer value to your LinkedIn connections is to share their articles and posts with your network.
If you found a blog post from one of your connections really interesting, share it with your network by publishing it to your LinkedIn feed with a brief blurb. (Don't forget to tag the author with the @ feature!). They'll appreciate the gesture, and will likely remember that the next time you share something.
Sharing or commenting on a connection's article is also a great way to reconnect. It sure beats sending a message that says "just checking in."
Another important thing to remember is it doesn't matter if you're sharing your own content, or someone else's. You're still being active on LinkedIn and staying in front of people. This is a great way to build your personal brand.
Introduce A Connection
If you think someone in your network could benefit from connecting with one of your connections, you could shoot them a quick message saying something like:
"I noticed you're looking to break into the entertainment industry. I'd love to introduce you to Jody Smith. She works as a talent agent out in L.A. and I'm sure she'd be a valuable addition to your network. Would you be interested in getting an introduction?"
Just make sure you ask your other connection if the introduction is appropriate before offering him/her up! This is known as super connecting.
Once again, this is something that could come back to benefit you if you find yourself in a position to make a career change and are hunting for a job.
Always be willing to offer value to your network when you don't need it, so that when you actually do, your professional connections will be more than willing to help!
Also, the more you network, the better networking habits you develop.
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This post was originally published at an earlier date