For a job seeker, it is hard to get organized about networking. Most job seekers approach networking without a real plan. Instead of a steady diet of events and networking groups, the best place to start networking efforts is with people you know. The warmer and closer a connection, the more likely they are to want to help you.
So, how do you start organizing that warm network? There is a pretty nifty trick on LinkedIn – you can download your connections into a .CSV file and save the file in Excel. Then you are off to the races. It is best if you are on a desktop computer as opposed to the app. Here is how to start.
Go to the drop down menu – My Network and choose “Connections”
On the upper right hand corner of the page, you will see a “gear” – when you hover over the gear, you will see the word “setting” – click
Then, on the right, you will see “Export LinkedIn Connections” – click
Then, in the center of the page, you will see a blue “Export” button – click
You will then see security verification – type in the numbers to verify that you are not a robot
At the bottom of your screen, you will see the contacts as a downloaded file
Open the file and save to Excel
Once the file is saved, you can clean it up by removing any unused rows. It should look pretty tidy after that is done. Then, in the first column, title it “priority”. Quickly go down the list of each of your connections and decide how close you are. Assign a priority number (1, 2, 3, or 4) based upon the connection. When you have finished assigning a priority, you can sort the spreadsheet by the priority number. Then, all the 1’s will be together, etc. All of a sudden, you have an organized way to begin the process of outreach to your network, starting with the warmest and closest connections first. You can add additional fields to note the date of the contact, notes and follow up needed.