Effective networking on linkedin means not only optimizing your profile, adding hundreds of contacts and having your profile at 100%. Effectively using this professional social network to help you find your next sales job is to mix in offline networking and communicating with your contacts.
Offline networking means you will need to connect either in person or by phone. Email and inmail communications help maintain relationships, but to connect and take advantage of the networking benefits of Linkedin, mix in some offline networking into your sales job search strategy.
As a hiring sales manager, I get many inquiries from candidates asking me to keep them in mind when a position opens up. They even ask if we can connect on Linkedin. Now this is much more than what others do by proactively reaching out, but to maximize your professional career networking, ask to talk on the phone or to meet face to face over coffee to learn more about the position. You can do this even if the position is not available yet. The key word here is "YET". If you have a targeted company that you would be perfect for the job, work you way up the chain of command and see if you can network.
You might think that the sales managers, sales directors or even sales VPs won't have time to connect, but smart sales leaders try to keep a healthy pool of candidates as their own pipeline of talent. Do them a favor and if you are a great candidate, put yourself on the radar so that when a sales job does come available, you will already be on their mind. Not only that, it shows consistency and how serious you are about joining their company if you have targeted them prior to any sales position being open. This is being strategic in your sales career and by thinking forward, you will have a better chance of landing the future opportunities that come up.