Finding Success on LinkedIn with Kahaari Kenyatta

We are happy to have Kahaari Kenyatta on the MyHCN blog! This week, Kahaari continues from his last interview and shares how he found success on LinkedIn. On Tuesday, October 16th, register for our free webinar "Getting a Job Using LinkedIn with Kahaari Kenyatta" at 4PM PST/7PM EST.


MyHCN: How did you get started on LinkedIn?

Kahaari Kenyatta: I started to get serious on LinkedIn during my junior year at the University of Pennsylvania. I was working on a final paper and on my break, I decided to start my own LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is something that takes time. I would constantly revisit my profile and flesh out a section each time. I waited until my profile was at a certain level of completion before I started making connections on the platforn. All in all, I can’t say I used LinkedIn extensively during my undergraduate years, but the time and effort I put in paid off later down the line. 

MyHCN: Did you have any qualms accepting requests from people you did not know?

KK: That is actually one of the most contentious topics on LinkedIn right now. There are some users on LinkedIn that use the acronym L.I.O.N in their profile, which stands for “LinkedIn Open Networker.” These are users who will send a connection request if they come across your name in posts and comments or if you are listed as a 2nd or 3rd-degree connection to them. These users are also open to accepting all connection requests.There is the potential for more visibility and to feel closer to more people. But that closeness is artificial and superficial when you use LinkedIn that way. 

For me, I have it on my profile that I am open to connecting as long as you drop me a note explaining why you want to connect. Otherwise, if I receive something out of the blue, I am not going to accept it. For example, I receive requests from current students from Penn. I inquire about why they decided to request a connection.  More often than not, they will reply back saying that they saw I am in the healthcare industry or they are interested in keeping up with my journey. I am open to connecting with them because we share a background.

One might think that connecting with someone higher up in a company is a valuable asset. But the connection means nothing if you don’t have that relational capital. 

MyHCN: What are your thoughts on getting political on LinkedIn?

KK: As the platform has done better in bringing people from different walks of life into conversational spaces. As more and more people are on it, I think the quality of the conversations has shifted to include more current events. I think there is a way to be engaged on LinkedIn without instigating heated debate. 

MyHCN: Any tips for recent graduates on crafting a story on LinkedIn?

KK: I think different things will work for different people. No matter what, start from your resume and post your work history on LinkedIn. Look at other people’s profiles and learn the way they format and use certain key words to describe their roles. More than anything, its about learning the corporate language. It really is like marketing yourself to the world. With your resume, you have the skeleton. To make a story out of it, you have to sit down you have to ask yourself:

What do I want to do?

Where do I see myself?

What area(s) do I aspire to be in?

You need to make the choice to be more active. As you comment and have conversations on LinkedIn material, your name will be boosted to the top of people’s feeds and help get your name out there.

I also suggest that if you meet a person during a networking event and you want to connect on LinkedIn, you add the place and time in your connection request.

Focus more on what you can give rather than what you want to get from that person.


Kahaari Kenyatta is a Research Analyst at Ipsos Healthcare in Washington D.C. Connect with Kahaari on LinkedIn.


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