Start by writing recommendations for colleagues in your network. Write them as you would want others to write recommendations for you; keep them truthful, concise and full of keywords such as customer oriented, hard working, friendly and dedicated. If you write strong recommendations for others, hopefully they will reciprocate and write meaningful recommendations for you. If you don’t see anything in a few weeks then give them a gentle nudge and politely ask if they would write one for you. A broad range of endorsements looks good to recruiters and companies.
Go through your groups and contact lists to see what discussions are going on or what questions have been asked and participate where you can. Providing answers or valid suggestions can be an excellent way to gain the respect of your network and show your expertise. Asking questions of others will also prompt responses from experienced people in your network creating a valuable cross exchange of knowledge.
If there is a company you are particularly interested in, look at your contacts to see if anyone is associated with them. If your contact has a connection then ask for an introduction. When asking for an introduction let them know why you are asking for an introduction so that your contact can feel comfortable about passing you on to their associate. Likewise, when someone asks for an introduction, ensure that you know why they are asking for the introduction, you don’t want to start handing nuisances and spam off to your business contacts, that is the quickest way to earn a bad reputation.
Learn about your competition, your associates or even potential employers by reading their profiles. Profiles can give you a lot of information on people and they can give you tidbits of information to discuss as the conversation wanes. Knowing more about who you are meeting with also helps you build valuable relationships that may be beneficial later on.