As a big LinkedIn fan, I always encourage job seekers to expand their presence on LinkedIn.
You can’t imagine the number of times I have heard people say, “I get invitations to connect all the time but I only accept those from people I know very well.”
I find this view frustrating because this limits your networking drastically. Let’s imagine this in a different context. Let’s say you go to a cocktail party and only talk to the people you know already. There will be little clumps of people all over the room but no mingling. You wouldn’t want to meet someone you don’t already know, right?
Or imagine you go to a business meeting of people in your company from different parts of the business. You stand like a lump next to the only other person you know while everyone else mingles. You wouldn’t want to meet someone you don’t already know, right?
When I was young I was very shy. My first husband was quite outgoing and had a job that required that he and his wife (me) be very social. It was torture to go into a room full of people I did not know. I became more comfortable over time by forcing myself to talk to at least three people I didn’t know before I slunk back to my corner with my friends. You know what? After a while I enjoyed meeting people. I got to ask lots of questions to get the other person to talk. Curiosity overcame my shyness.
LinkedIn is a wonderful way for shy people to step out. No one can see you. You are safe. There are lots of reasons to meet people you don’t already know in the real world or in the social network that is LinkedIn.
- People you don’t know might be able to answer a question you have. You could learn something.
- They know people you need to know. Imagine the difference between submitting your resume to an online advertisement or sending your resume to a person you know. Which resume is the hiring manager going to look at?
- They know something about a company you are researching. Wouldn’t it be nice to call someone you know and ask questions?
- You can have an interesting conversation with them on a discussion page, raising your visibility and encouraging recruiters to look at your profile.
- Networking is about connecting to people you don’t know yet. Why wouldn’t you accept an invitation or reach out? The job networking possibilities are endless!
Try to overcome your shyness. Reach out and link with someone!
If you would like more tips on a successful job search, check out a replay video of our recent job search training – it is free and has tons of job search tips in it.