I am Ajay Ohri,from Delhi ,India and I have been on Linkedin for almost a year now. I got an invite from an American client of mine who became friends with me. LinkedIn seemed a great way to keep in touch. As a data mining and analytics specialist , I was part of the SAS , SPSS and R groups (technical email groups in data mining). But something was missing. Thats right..the interactive touch that Linkedin increasingly provided. I have now 2580 contacts, get atleast 8 invitations every day , have 11 recommendations from professional collegues and have best answers in 2 questions .( ok, I am bad at the questions). These are some of the things I found help me grow my network and gain a lot by devoting 15 minutes of my time to online networking everyday.
1) Put up a nice professional photo – It helps people who have stumbled on your profile with a good impression.
2) Put all the companies and schools you have been to. Complete your profile. Then use the search feature to build up initial contacts.
3) Ask and get atleast 1 recommendation per company. That should not be hard if you are a good worker whom people remember.People with more recommendations are trusted and get more invites.Give honest and credible recommendations yourself.
4) Answer atleast one question a day belonging to your domain. Or Atleast ask 1 question. Ask atleast 1 question a week. That helps build up your noticeability.
5) Be an open networker- If you are open to sharing your email address (which is any ways available with a lot of people) you can be an open networker and join the Open Networkers and Linked In Open Networkers (LIONs)
6) Publicise your profile using the public profile feature. Use the link as an email signature.
7) Try and learn more about your area of work by going through questions. It helps build up skills. Accept all recruiters invites. They and your enhanced skills will help you in a rainy day in a tough economy.
8) Be humourous in your profile message (eg Ajay Shrugged …or Ajay is changing the world one mega byte a time). People love to network with humourous people.
9)Be sensitive to cultural differences when answering questions. Eastern and Western cultures think differently about what is private, public and what is rude.
10) Have fun doing this. Otherwise if it becomes a chore , like mowing the grass, it will remain unattented to and you will miss out on the free benefits of Linkedin.
11) Pass on forwards to help other people get jobs or get in contact. This will establish you as a good person to stay linked in too.
12) Join as many groups and associations that you find interesting. Start from your school alumni groups, then with groups of your friends and so on.Found a group. I founded two Decision Stats for data mining and statisticians and Creative Destruction for lateral thinkers.
Linked In help me get a contract for my firm, numerous inetrviews,domain specialists for technical help, and friends , and fortunately Linkedin allowed me access to fabulous people who did that.It helped me learn a language called R , which is open source and helped me give ideas to make two websites www.iwannacrib.com and www.decisionstats.com. Above all it gave me 2580 acquaintances whom I can fall back on in tougher times. Collectively they do help make a difference.
All the best for your online social networking. If Bill Gates can be on Linked In after retirement, then why can’t you ?