Sue Waters Network

Sue Waters NetworkImage Credit Sue Waters 

When I was a kid, tag was a game you played at recess where you ran around at top speed, and tried to reach out and touch one of your friends, yelling “You’re It!” Tags have something of a different meaning today, with search engine optimization, blogs, metadata… all roughly translated as blah blah blah unless that’s the world you live in. Most of us ignore tags up until the moment that we’re searching for something online, and then we think “gee, that’s handy.” What if you could harness the power of tags to help you with your job search, business development, or career advancement? You can, using LinkedIn Tags.

Tags have been a feature of LinkedIn’s network management tools for years, but it’s been both undervalued and underused. Every time you connect with someone, LinkedIn assigns a tag, based on the type of connection selected in the invitation – colleagues, classmates, friends… They aren’t very creative categories, and with the complexity of relationships today, they frankly aren’t helpful. But LinkedIn offers you the ability to customize your tags to categorize relationships in ways that are meaningful to you, and then filter your network using your custom tags to help you find people faster. Here are 3 tips for getting your network organized:

Add Tags to New Connections: From now on, whenever you accept an invitation, go straight to your new contact’s profile and add relevant tags that will help you find them. Depending on how you use LinkedIn, you might consider tags for geographic location, industry, their relationship to you as a client/customer, partner, colleague… or if you are targeting specific employers then you might want to have tags for those organizations so you can filter your network quickly and easily to find the people you want at a moment’s notice.

Add Tags Before You Send an Invitation: Connecting to someone new? Before you click the Connect button, save them as a contact and add the relevant tags. When they accept your invitation, you don’t have to remember to go in and add categories afterwards.

Tag Existing Connections: Arguably, this is a big job if you have a lot of people in your network already, but it is worth it. Try sorting your network by last name, and doing 1 letter per day. It will only take a few minutes, and before the end of the month your network will be fully organized and searchable according to your categories.

Have a LinkedIn question? Email me at and if I answer your question in a blog post, I’ll trade you a 30-minute coaching session for your idea.