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Executive Recruitment/Headhunting and President of Spectra International--Voted #1 Executive Search Firm in Arizona. I am actively involved in social media marketing strategies, growing and developing our Virtual Recruiting Team and blogging about search technology and social media job search. I am also involved in a blog for outdoor art and gardens and working on my own Julia & Julie project of 365 Days of Outdoor Art and Garden Photos.
Sybil...Headhunter | sybilg
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Jul 26th 2010 at 2:12 PM


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Our basic approach is that personal or business branding is the process whereby people and their careers are marked as ‘brands’.  While previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging.  In future articles, we will move from self-packaging into self-branding.  We will also cover the best ways to increase your Twitter and Facebook followers with the ultimate goal of establishing your personal brand.  Bookmark to check out our follow-up articles.

Three important notes:  (1) Remember IN limits your # of invitations so use them for meaningful branding contacts.  (2) You can get in trouble you’re your IN account if you spam, abuse your contacts or get the dreaded “IDK” (I DO NOT KNOW) back from your sent invitations.  So, definitely send invitations only to those people you know or those who notify you that they are LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers).  (3)  Read and follow the ‘rules of engagement’ before starting on your personal branding campaign.

Here, then, are the Top 5 Ways to Increase Your LinkedIn Contacts.


1.      Invite people you already know who are listed in your address books.

Just follow the LinkedIn directions for adding contacts.  They will import all of your address books that you have (Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, etc.).  Review the names of business and personal contacts and make sure you really want to add the people selected to your contact list.  Think competitors, angry customers – you know where I’m going with this.

2.      Join as many relevant interest groups as you can.

After being accepted, read the weekly broadcasts and messages from many in your group who will mention in their postings that they welcome invitatations.  You can also use advanced search (put LION on keyword) and look for members of your groups who welcome open networkers (LIONs = LinkedIn Open Networkers) and “Never IDK” on their personal profile means they will accept your invitation without tagging it “IDK” = dreaded message”.  This is the least risky way of adding new contacts to your network.  Make sure you check their profile looking for LION or Never IDK or open to all invitatations, etc. You might also look for fellow group members who list their email on their profiles – usually means they would be open to receiving an email prior to the invite asking if they would join your professional network if they received an invitation.  Be guided by their response or lack thereof.

3.      Invite Co-Workers from Current and Previous Employers

Follow the helpful instructions to easily find friends from your past companies who are LinkedIn members.  You can then connect without knowing their E-Mail address.  Important note on your profile:  you can only find people if your profile is up-to-date.  So while completing your own profile, don’t forget to mention that you are a LION which might get you some more incoming invites from people finding your profile.  Remember, the more companies that list in your profile, the more colleagues you will find.  Make sure you complete your profile for every job you have held since you started working for opimium results.

4.      Invite Classmates from Current or Previous Schools/Colleges

Approach this task the same as with old colleagues.  Again, make sure your profile is up-to-date for every school that you have attended – probably don’t need to go back beyond college or possibly high school.   You can also do keyword search looking for people using the name of your high school or community college. 

5.      Invite LIONs – Saving the Best for Last

You now know what a LION is…right?  You now know that they want the same thing as you want – to grow their networks!  Therefore, invite LIONs.  They are probably the least risky way of adding new contacts to your network.  Simply using “LION” as a keyword search (under advanced search) will present you with plenty of LIONs that you can contact and invite.  A quick and easy way to invite LIONs is by joining open networking groups.   Just do an advanced search on groups with the keyword LION and see which groups are listed.  (Open Networkers as an example).  You will get a list of plenty of LIONs that you can contact and invite.  Always check personal profiles to be sure they want to receive invitations.  Only invite those that will welcome open invitations and send a note of thanks after they accept.

HELPFUL HINTS:  If you find someone you really would like to invite but who is not accessable in your direct network, it might decide to send them a free InMail message which will cost you an introduction (you have 5 to use at one time) if they have an InMail account..  You may also check to see if they have their email listed on their profile and send an email telling them why you would like to connect – and be guided by their response.  If yes, go for it.  If no response, do not send them an invitation. d them an E-Mail indicating why you would like to connect with them. On the other hand, if you become a paid member, you do have an opportunity to send out InMails as part of your subscription.  One rule of thumb that I have used is if they have their E-Mail address in their profile they are open to being contacted, but remember to first always read.


 Offering Free ‘Headhunter Help’, Job Openings and Easy and Effective Marketing Ideas to get your personal brand working!  Send email to with “Headhunter Help” on subject line and YOU’RE IN!  Nominate yourself for one of our 2500 job openings and receive a free eBook of “Think and Grow Rich" -- all time best seller!

Please to comment
Jun 3rd 2011 at 7:53 AM by onscreenrene
great info - ty for share! Irene
Nov 20th 2010 at 11:08 PM by thompsonwd40
Right on. I never heard of LION and IDK. Thanks for a great article, informative, and well written!

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