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LinkedIn Tips- How To Find “Great” People to Connect With

How hard is it to find people to connect with on LinkedIn? Not very, if you tap into the wisdom of these 19 experts. 

This post is a result of my writing Sunday’s Summary post, I ended it by asking

“how do you use LinkedIn to find people or connect with people? Are you using Groups?  Q&A?  Searching other people’s contacts (when viewable)?”

I began to search for information that I thought would be helpful, but I got frustrated when I couldn’t find what I was looking for.  Sure, there are wonderful experts who write about LinkedIn, but I was looking for information for you that would create an “aha” moment.  In other words, you would say to yourself “Oh, I can do that” or “Gosh, that makes sense, why didn’t I think of that”.

I asked for help and help I got!  Thank you to all my friends who responded to this plea for information to share!

How To Find People to Connect With On LinkedIn

If you are in job search, you need to meet with people who can help you reach your goal and having a strategic approach will increase your success.  If you are employed, you don’t have a lot of extra time, so you will want to network as effectively as possible.  In either case, you will need to read this post by Harry Urschel, Finding Your Targets on LinkedIn,

Harry Urschel, The Wise Job Search

Others wrote about their strategic approach to reaching out to people as well.

Walter Akana, Threshold Consulting  

Inviting members of your groups. Also, you could check Plaxo contacts if you have that!

Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

My initial response is to start with the basics. Make sure your own profile is complete with information that describes your value to others. Accomplishment-driven statements in your profile, up-to-date information and open the privacy walls enough so people can connect with you. Too many people have incomplete or empty profiles and they want connections but wonder why they aren’t getting any. Then find ways to help others as you connect. Compliment something someone shares, join groups that are active but also fit your interests and your occupation. Continue to add to your connections on a regular basis but not so much that it is a race to get the most. Most doesn’t matter as much as the need for those connections to be genuine and have value.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, Blogging4Jobs

Groups and Question and Answer section are best bets. Also “suggested contacts” is another.

Karalyn Brown, InterviewIQ

My tips for finding and connecting people would be to work out why you want to network with them, and, as a job seeker even – what value can you add to them. That should be part of your connection intro. Find a point of interest so you don’t look like a spammer.

For good people to connect with I would look to see how active they are on LinkedIn. Do they participate in groups? Pick people who are active and seem to be responsive as a starting point. Especially if you are a newbie, that will give you confidence.

Cyndy Trivella

Re-evaluate your #in groups every quarter to ensure you are getting the most from them.

Heather Huhman, Heather Huhman

The best way to find people to connect with on LinkedIn is through Groups. Join Groups with which you have a strong affiliation and search the member list. That way, you’re not simply stumbling around in the dark.

Melissa Cooley, The Job Quest




Joining industry groups and participating in the discussions. Once people start recognizing your name, they will engage with you more.

Dawn Bugni, The Write Solution

Dawn sent two links:  One by Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter and one by Chris Brogan to help you understand the value of creating a meaningful profile.

Susan P. Joyce, Job-Hunt.org

Do an advanced people search on former employers names to find former colleagues, bosses, etc. & do same on names of (happy) former clients.

Do same search on former suppliers – anyone outside of a former employer’s org you had good relationship with. “Warm” connections are best!

Alumni and Military & Government “Alumni” Group Directory

Jacqui Barrett Poindexter, Career Trend

I’d suggest visiting the ASAE (association for associations) website and navigate to their associations ‘gateway,’ here. Then, do a search for various associations based on keywords in your industry, field, geographic area, etc. Note several key associations, then research them (via their website or other contact information). Track down a leadership (board and committee member) directory for each — you can often find this in their About Us section on their website. From there, begin cross-referencing those names on LinkedIn. Personalize your introduction by indicating you are familiar with/interested in their association affiliation and/or industry affiliation and are hoping to grow and share information and network contacts via LinkedIn.

Sital Ruparelia, Sital’s Blog

Sital says his 5 steps below take no more than 5 minutes and can be used by the novice. So if you’re after a quick and simple way to approach people then this may be useful.

1. Create list of target companies

2. Go into the ‘Advanced Search” section of LinkedIn by clicking
on ‘Advanced’ in top right hand side of screen

3. In ‘key words’ section put the “company name” in inverted comas. And also the country and zip code (if the firm is a multi-nationational this ensures you find people closest to areas you’re searching)

4. Hit enter and then scan through the names that come up. Look through people until you find individuals you’d like to connect with

5. You then have 2 options
a) Approach via a mutual contact
b) approach direct

Miriam Salpeter, Keppie Careers

Job Seekers and Entrepreneurs subscribe to LinkedIn’s Answers

Using LinkedIn’s Answers is one way to expand  potential connections. Often, when I ask a question, people who answer it will request to connect, or if I answer a question, people who asked it may request that we “link in.” If you are asking and answering questions related to your field, you may “meet” people who could be great networking contacts you wouldn’t otherwise know

Tim Tyrell-Smith, Tim’s Strategy

11 Ways to Personalize A LinkedIn Invite

Brent Peterson, Interview Angel

My best advice for LinkedIn is to have a set of personal guidelines. Here are my suggestions…

5 Guidelines for LinkedIn Invitations

I’ll confess I don’t mine groups or businesses for new contacts. I use LinkedIn to maintain contacts (generally made offline first). But that’s just my approach:-)

Ed Han

Customize that invitation. Explain clearly why it’s in the recipient’s best interests to connect.

Jacob Share, Job Mob

Reach out to relevant locals whose LinkedIn Answers taught you a lesson.

Jason Alba, JibberJobber


Use the advanced search tool. Too often overlooked but really powerful.


Karla Porter, Karla Porter’s blog

I’m very tactical about who I seek out to include in my network and only slightly strategic about who I allow into it. I advertise on my profile that I am an open networker so unless someone raises red flags I’ll approve them.

Thanks everyone!

This was a fun experiment for me!  The most difficult part of this was getting the information into the post!  I can’t thank you all enough for sharing your wisdom and advice!

We’re one step closer to removing barriers!  Many more to go!

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Karalyn Brown January 10, 2011, 11:33 pm

    Hannah, thank you so much for including me on your post.

    The advice you’ve gathered is really needed as so many people jump on LinkedIn and just expect results to pop up; Or they simply don’t know what to do next – for many reasons.

    • Hannah Morgan January 11, 2011, 4:13 am


      I am glad to include you in this post.

      It is sad to know that you have seen the frustration people new to LinkedIn have faced. I was hoping it was unique to the US. But I should have guessed!

      Bit by bit, let’s help people understand the value of cultivating and nurturing their networks. LinkedIn is merely the tool!

  • Kristin Johnson January 11, 2011, 1:44 am

    Wow! What a wealth of information. I can’t wait to get started using these tips to connect to everyone on this list! 🙂

    • Hannah Morgan January 11, 2011, 4:14 am


      Glad you stopped by to read this! I was so blown away by the response I got. The resounding message I heard is to understand LinkedIn groups better!

      Good luck and feel free to add any of your favorite tips for finding/connecting with “great people” on LinkedIn.

  • Debra Feldman March 11, 2011, 3:46 pm

    This is one of the most worthy posts ever! Thanks Hannah for collecting all these top ideas and sharing them. During the past few years, I have strategized, designed and created networks for clients using the recommended techniques and methods described in this post. Sometimes I usually include additional research to identify more potential strategic contact names and then use either direct invitations, cold calling, or group affiliations to promote connecting. Then, the tricky part is how best to initiate a meaningful dialogue that will develop a trusting relationship.
    I am wondering if there is anyone reading this who has done the research and created the lists of contacts as a professional service. I have done this both for myself to network purposefully as well as for JobWhiz executive clients and am interested in collaborating with others who know how to identify target contacts and build lists of potential connections. Please contact me, networking@jobwhiz.com if you can help. Thanks.

    • Hannah Morgan March 12, 2011, 5:05 am

      Thanks and I hope you get a response! Scooping up the right contacts is definitely an art and a science!
      And if you don’t get a response, you certainly have unique value!