Making The Most Of “People You May Know” On LinkedIn

Why You Should Care About LinkedIn’s “People You May Know”

It’s impossible to spend time on any form of social media without being intermittently bombarded with offerings of “suggested friends”. You know what I’m talking about, whether you’re interrupted when idly scrolling through photos of sunsets and brunches on Instagram or when sifting through baby photos and the latest viral sensations on Facebook, there’s no escape.

The corporate side of social media is no exception; LinkedIn’s “People You May Know” function will automatically suggest people it thinks you should connect with. Admittedly, the feature can seem a little redundant if you’re only getting suggestions for people you vaguely recognise from uni lectures or professionals from industries that don’t align with your line of work. However it doesn’t take much effort hack the system and steer LinkedIn towards helping you grow a decent network.

How LinkedIn finds “People You May Know”

Basically, LinkedIn aggregates suggestions for people you should connect with based on employment history, education and mutual connections you may share. You’re also likely to see suggestions pop up that seem much more tailored to you individually; this could include people you’ve been emailing, messaging or calling recently. So how does LinkedIn know to suggest these contacts?

Now, don’t freak out here, but LinkedIn is able to generate these more accurate suggestions using data it collects from your phone. If you have downloaded the LinkedIn app on your mobile, you would have agreed to their terms and conditions. All the fine print that you would have no doubt blindly scrolled past when installing the app gives LinkedIn permission to access data from your call log, contact list, messaging systems, and so on.

There are 530 million people using LinkedIn and 58% of them access the platform on their smartphones. That’s a whole lot of data that LinkedIn has been given access to and is using to show you people that could be of value to your recruiting or networking efforts.

Why you should care about “People You May Know”

Now before you jump off the deep end and fall into your darkest Black Mirror-type take on all that information, think instead about all the ways LinkedIn’s algorithms can be used to your benefit…

There are two main reasons LinkedIn is suggesting new connections to you. Either it has made an estimated guess that you already know the person but aren’t yet connected, or by analysing both of your data it has determined that the two of you are likely to share common targets or outlooks and it would be mutually beneficial to connect.

LinkedIn is doing the groundwork of building a network for you, and its actually really easy for you to step in and leverage this to be more accurately customised to your needs.

How to hack “People You May Know” to build your network

  1. To reach the full list of People You May Know, click on “My Network” at the top of your LinkedIn homepage (any pending invitations will appear near the top of the page), and then scroll down to the People You May Know Section.
  2. For every person you want to connect with, you can simply click the “Connect” button displayed under their title and profile photo.
  3. If there are suggestions for people whom you do not wish to connect with don’t just ignore them, remove them! To do this on your computer move your cursor over the suggestion and click the “X” icon in the top right corner of the suggestion box (if you’re on mobile, this icon will appear to the right of the suggestion box).
  4. Rinse and repeat – make a habit of checking the suggestions in People You May Know fortnightly or monthly to continue expanding your network.

By regularly accepting some of LinkedIn’s suggested connections and denying others, you are teaching it more about the kind of network you wish to build, and in turn it will make smarter suggestions for you.

Much like any tool, LinkedIn needs to be used in intuitive ways to reap the best results. Learn how to wield it correctly and you’ll be on your way to building a recruiter’s greatest asset: a large, strong network!





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