Did you ever notice the “People You May Know” section of Linkedin? These are suggested potential connections Linkedin provides for you based on mutual backgrounds and previous connections. But how well do you really know these people?
The computer company Dell’s Secure Works unit identified a group of suspected Iranian hackers are using a sophisticated network of fake LinkedIn profiles to spy on unsuspecting targets.
The fake personas fell into two groups: one set that were fully developed profiles posing as recruiters for major worldwide government contractors and international corporations, and another set that were less developed and designed to lend legitimacy to the primary accounts through endorsements and connections. Evidence links these to cyberattackers from Iran.
More than 200 legitimate LinkedIn users had connected with 25 fake accounts that were analyzed. Many of the targets worked in the telecom sector, government and defense.
Dell researchers recommended LinkedIn users only engage with profiles they know to be authentic. They also suggested companies do a better job of ensuring that profiles of individuals claiming to work for them are just who they say they are.
So what are some of the ways that you can ensure you connect with people you know? How can you make sure that you are connecting with the right people on a site with almost 400 million members and worldwide reach? It takes a strategy in line with your purpose being on Linkedin.
Bob Beaudine is an executive recruiter in the sports industry and author of the book The Power of Who. One of the taglines used for his book is “Networking is Not working”. Beaudine replaces the traditional networking method with the concept that individuals already know everyone they need to know. His belief is that people have established a powerful network simply by interacting with people in their daily lives.
Whether you agree with this or not, the premise can be effective if you are trying to make strong connections. You probably already have a strong network in place. That is, most of the people in your network may not necessarily see you in terms of the career or industry for which you are preparing. Let them be aware so they can help be your eyes and ears.
As simple as it may sound, networking can be a painfully frustrating effort. Tasks such as building contacts or collecting theoretically take only a few simple steps. But building relationships requires quality over quantity. Here are four steps you can take to get quality contacts.
The 100/40 Strategy
Beaudine explains this strategy as follows. The first set of numbers (1-100) is about relationships. The second set (1-40) is about whatever it is you’re after. He says not to get hung up on the numbers, meaning if you don’t have 100 on your “Who” list or 40 on your “What” list, that’s okay. It will be different for every person.
Step One: Make a list of your “Who.”
This is where you come up with 1-100 people you know. As you read about these groups, think about the people in your life and also think back on when people have helped you before.
The big source of names will come from three areas: Your family; social contacts such as neighbors, clubs, fraternities, service organizations; and business contacts.
Step Two: Make a list of “What” you want your “Who” to help you with.
This step consists of two parts. First, you want to identify specifically what you want to do and accomplish. Beaudine says this list will serve as an inventory tool. Next, you will take each item from your list and do some research. This is where the 1-40 part of the strategy comes in. The key is to identify whom you need to talk to or other.
Step Three: Contact your “Who” to ask for help.
Step Four: Follow up.
Don’t be discouraged either. If you have 100 people on your “Who” list and 40 names on your “What” list, that’s 4,000 possibilities.
Step Five: Make the Connection.
By following the five steps you take the initiative to take extra care and cultivate the people on your list. If you have difficulty and need more contacts consider these activities:
Volunteering is one of the most effective ways to build relationships with people. Your involvement with an organization bonds you to other members or volunteers within that same organization. By working together to reach a common goal, you are automatically building relationships. These individuals will be able to discover your talents, your values and your character.
2. Get into a Mastermind
No matter where you are in your career, it is always good to have insight from others. This is especially important when you’re at a critical point in your career development. By associating yourself with others you can learn all kinds of insights. Connect with other members in the mastermind.
3. Join Professional Organizations Offline
This can give you the opportunity to connect with influential people in your field. You can also be aware of live events and conferences that can provide even more opportunities.
4. Join groups online
You’re investing in your future. Look at groups on other platforms like Facebook and Google plus. Get to know others that you trust and provide value. Develop cross platform connections on different social media sites.