Step 1: Choose people who could be your next boss, or even your next boss's boss. Find them through LinkedIn's alumni tool, the advanced people search function, or just by entering the title and company of your dreams into the main search bar of LinkedIn.
Step 2: Send personalized connection requests to at least 7 of these people a week for at least a month. The more the better, as long as they are within your industry or potential field of interest. (Try these templates.)
Step 3: Stalk them in a non-creepy way. Check your "Pulse" feed regularly (on the desktop version, click "Home" on the menu; on the mobile app, it's the house icon). When they share an article, thank them and share it with your network! When they contribute to a group you're in, comment positively on their post! Your name and face will start feeling oddly familiar in their professional frame of reference.
Step 4: If they change jobs or have a work anniversary, congratulate them! At least every week, review your connections for job changes and anniversaries. (On the desktop version, click "My Network" and choose "Connections;" on the mobile app, it's the icon that looks like two people.) I usually congratulate anyone on a new position or anniversary, but only message friends about birthdays. Your call though, so if you want to wish Bill Gates a happy birthday, go for it.
Step 5: Ask those who responded if they would like to grab coffee or would be willing to give you an informational interview. After all your effort from those first 30+ individuals, you have probably 2 or 3 who have accepted your connection requests, responded to your comments on their posts, or answered your "congrats!" messages. These are the folks who will help you in your career! Take advantage of their generosity and value their time, and they just might hire you--or recommend you to someone who is hiring.
In a few years, when you're settled in your career, don't stop using LinkedIn. Pay it forward! Look for someone entering your field, perhaps someone stalking YOU that you can encourage. Don't be surprised when they comment on your posts, send you a connection request, and ask you to grab coffee!
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