1 (800) 363-1207

7 Steps to Build a Targeted Network on LinkedIn

Here is a step by step guide to help you get started. Just remember to leave old fears of online (or offline) networking in the past, and always be open to help others!
  1.  Be Specific. Go to the Advanced People Search on LinkedIn. Either search by company name in the main keyword filter to target specific organizations or use job / industry titles to be more generalist. Select the industries relevant to you in the filter below and define the target geographical location. If the results returned are too general use more filters and keywords to further specify your search. The company tab on LinkedIn can also be very useful but is sometimes unreliable if employees have entered their company name incorrectly or the company page is not active.
  2. Find connections. Browse the search results and look for executives who you share groups with or have connections in common. If you have a connection or common group with someone, GROUP, 1st, 2nd or 3rd will appear next to their name. The numbers indicate the degree of connection – a direct connection (1st), a connection of a connection (2nd), or a connection of a connection of a connection (3rd).  Being in their 1st or 2nd level network and sometimes when sharing a group, will allow you to message others without connecting directly.
  3. Create connections. If you do not have any shared groups or connections with target professionals, look at the groups listed on their profiles and join the ones that match your background. This is a good way to ensure you are a member of all the most relevant groups to your industry or function, even when you’re not in a job search, and also allows you to send messages and connection requests to professionals in the same group. Get active in industry forums to connect with like-minded professionals and display thought leadership.
  4. Make contact. Next, reach out to target professionals in a friendly and professional way - comment on shared groups or connections and state you would like to add them to your network. If they are open to online networking and think your profile is interesting they will accept.
  5. Build Rapport. Once connected, the idea is to build rapport as you would any other relationship. Although this is targeted networking, do not announce you are looking for a job right away – although sometimes opportunities arise when you can be more direct, build your network with relevant contacts over the long term, so in 3-6 months or so, when you are ready to move, you will have a strong contact base to enquire for openings or just meetings for coffee to gather valuable information.
  6. Keep contacts engaged. You should add regular industry or function focused status updates (one or two per day but once a week is also fine), posting links to interesting articles, and ideally including links to your own articles. You should also interact with status updates from your contacts in a friendly and professional manner, such as congratulating on new jobs or commenting on their posts. Your new contacts will see your interactions in the LinkedIn timeline and if they are active on LinkedIn, you will remain constantly on their radar.
    In addition, if you find great industry reports or whitepapers, feel free to share with your relevant top contacts via a private message, always including friendly questions to continue to build rapport.
  7. Take it offline. When you are in an executive job search, feel free to send brief targeted messages stating that you would like to know a little more about their organization, location or specific market, relating questions to your experience. If they are open you will have a chance to gather information and perhaps hear about opportunities they know of. And do not be afraid to take it offline - mention you are visiting the area and offer to go for coffee.

    For example: Hi ___, I have just finished a project with ___ and am considering relocating to New York. Being in financial services, how do you find the market is recovering in NY? Are organizations hiring again?

Overall, building your network online should be an on-going process for all senior executives and providing you are proactive with relationship building, new opportunities will soon come your way. Sign up to our newsletter and join our LinkedIn group to make sure you stay up to date with the latest in career management and the executive search industry:


Gain International Exposure to Executive Search Firms
BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 6,000 executive search professionals in over 70 countries. Be visible, and be considered for up to 50,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more.


The Ultimate Executive Career Guide: In-Person and Social Media Networking

As a senior-level executive, you can use this guide to:

- Develop your in-person networking tactics 
- Improve your event networking skills
- Expand your opportunities on social media 
- Construct your networking plan 
- And more!

Download Now!

About the author

BlueSteps's picture

About BlueSteps

BlueSteps optimizes your visibility to top executive search firms and positions you for the best executive jobs.

As a member of BlueSteps, your career details will be confidentially provided to hundreds of the world’s leading retained executive search firms, all vetted members of the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants in over 75 countries.  Benefits include:

  • Confidential, lifetime career profile searchable by over 8,000 executive recruiters
  • Access to hundreds of executive jobs for which search firms are actively recruiting
  • Exclusive International directory that allows you to network with a targeted list of recruiters
  • Complimentary career review with expert advisors
  • Helpful podcasts and exclusive articles on a wide range of executive career-level topics

Click here to become a member today >>

About the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants

Since 1959, the AESC has set the standard for quality and ethics in executive search and leadership consulting worldwide. Because AESC members must commit and adhere to the AESC's industry and government recognized Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines, clients can be assured that AESC members are able to serve as trusted advisors for their most important engagements. As the voice for executive search and leadership consulting worldwide, today the AESC is comprised of more than 350 member firms, representing 8,000 executive search professionals in 75 countries. To learn more about the AESC and its membership, visit www.aesc.org.

Other posts by this author

Add new comment

Stay Connected