Navigating Networking Nuances

April 18, 2024

Networking can feel uncomfortable, intimidating, or like swimming in uncharted waters for active job seekers. There are so many questions about how/when/where to do it right and a whole lot of conflicting information out there to confuse the subject more. For those that find networking intimidating or are hesitant to ask for help – the best news is that people are intrinsically inclined to WANT to help others. It makes them feel good! You literally have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying.

The truth is that networking is an important component of your job search, but it’s only one piece. We’ll talk about some of those other parts and tools another day, because networking is big enough to fill several blogs. And today I’ll focus on LinkedIn (LI) networking specifically, saving in person networking for next month.

Let’s start with a couple of facts and myths:

  • Myth: 85% of jobs are filled through networking. LinkedIn (LI) attributes this number to an article posted on LI citing one specific study from 2015/2016. It then disputes that number in this article posted on LI in 2023 which suggests that number is much lower than 85%: Read it here
  • Fact: What LI does claim was true in 2016, was that 70% of professionals hired had a connection to their new company
  • Fact: 70% of jobs are never published publicly
  • Fact: 80% of job seekers believe that networking is critical to their success


What does the above show us? While the stats around networking success might be inflated, the power of it is not. If 70% of jobs are never published, they are either filled internally or through referral (i.e. referral = a direct result of one’s network). If 70% of professionals hired had a connection to their new company, their network would make them more visible to recruiters conducting the talent searches even if they weren’t specifically referred in.

LinkedIn (LI) is essential for online networking and there are several things you can do to set yourself up for success, starting with these tips.

Make sure your profile is attractive, complete, and up to date

  • Your headline should be catchy but not kitschy. Use a title and top keywords that project who you are and what you bring to the table. If your current/recent title is untraditional, replace it with something similar but more easily recognizable by search engines
  • Make sure your location reflects your general location. You don’t need to put your exact suburb for example, but “Greater Chicago Area” makes sense. Simply listing “United States” can inhibit your searchability and also frustrate recruiters who are trying to conduct targeted searches. (P.S. That’s also just weird, and suggests there is something to hide)
  • Be thorough and complete with your job responsibilities and skills. Again, this really increases your searchability for recruiters who are using both LI Recruiter and good old-fashioned Google to identify untapped talent pools
  • Avoid following politically divisive individuals and groups – save that for your Facebook, Insta, and X profiles


Create your personal brand by being active on LinkedIn (LI)

  • Post/Share/Like/Comment daily: That said, spread it out throughout the day
  • Posting your expertise and experience with the intention of helping others will boost your credibility and attractiveness to future employers. They want to see that you are actively engaged even when unemployed
  • When you like/share/comment on other peoples’ posts, you also increase your activity level and boost your profile visibility
  • Join LI groups aligned with your expertise, interests, and location and actively participate by sharing articles you’ve read/written, asking questions, or posting questionnaires


Connect with people who make sense 

  • Start with people you already know: current/former colleagues, leaders, employees, college peers, friends, neighbors
    • Who cares if you haven’t talked to them in 20 years? If you remember them, they probably remember you and they are the fastest way to grow your network
    • Call it out in a quick message to jog their memory, “Hey! I know it’s been a minute, but I was just thinking about that time we…” (P.S. keep that message professional) 😉
  • Find leaders in companies you admire and desire to work for
    • Make sure these leaders align with your skills. For example, connection requests to Bill Gates may not make sense, but their VP of Digital Marketing certainly could if you are an SEO/e-Comm up-and-comer with experience in the Tech/SaaS space
    • Flattery will help, so look at their activity and reference thigs that catch your eye and interests to emphasize where your enthusiasm to connect is coming from
  • Research leaders within companies you are applying or interviewing with
    • Similar to above, but if you feel like referencing the role that interests you, just do it in a thoughtful way
    • Make your introduction personal to them if you can (i.e. did you go to the same school, work for the same company, have a shared interest or connection)
    • If you reference the role you are applying for, acknowledge you are already following their recommended path so that they don’t feel you are skirting the process
    • DO NOT use LinkedIn’s AI tool to craft this message! They all sound the same and will likely annoy the person you are trying to impress


What happens when they respond and engage?

  • Anticipate how you can help them (i.e. are they currently hiring for something outside your skills, have they indicated they are looking for work, have they posted on common themes that you are an expert on)
  • Remind yourself what you were hoping to gain from the conversation and be specific with your asks
  • Send them a thank you note, citing what you took away from the conversation


At Elevation Talent Group, our top priority is to provide best in class candidate experiences; our clients’ experience is elevated as a result. We understand that job changes are one of three most stressful life events you will experience and we’re committed to doing everything we can to help you navigate the uncertainties.

Remember that people will want to help you, so be ready to help them do just that. Networking will never hurt your search, but it does take some effort and research on your end to do it well. Next month we’ll chat about impactful in-person networking practices. I would LOVE ideas for future blogs regarding the job search or talent search experience as well! Please feel free to email me at or message me directly on LinkedIn.

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