You have a LinkedIn account, everything is setup and you have connected with the people you have worked with, worked for, or know from some aspect of your life. You are now looking for a new (or maybe first) job at a new company, or to connect with like-minded people, or maybe to gain sales leads, but how do you find and connect with people to help get an inside track (or at the very least, an inside view) to the company?
Here are a few tips on how to connect with new people on LinkedIn. Mind you, this is not full-proof as not everyone checks their LinkedIn on a regular basis, and there are some who do not respond to requests (for various reasons). All you can do is continue trying.
First, search for people at the company you are researching. In your search bar at the top of the LinkedIn page, click on the drop-down next to the search bar and select people.
Next, type the name of a company in the search bar and search. I will usually come up with an option that looks like: People who work at [Name of Company], but don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t, the search should work out the same.
On the right side of the page there are several options, including Relationship, Location, and Current Company. Narrow your search using these options depending on what/who you are looking to connect with specifically.
1st Degree Connections – these are people you are already connected with. They would be the best people to reach out to as you already have a connection with them and they are more likely to respond the quickest.
2nd Degree Connections – these are the people you are connected to through a similar connection…you both know a person in common. You should be able to request a connection directly with 2nd degree connections, but you can certainly request a connection by sending them a message through InMail or requesting an introduction by the person you both have in common (more on this in a bit).
3rd Degree Connections – these are people you are connected to your 2nd degree connections. Typically you will only be able to send them InMail or through an introduction.
Second, when you have found one (or more) people you would like to connect with, there are two ways to go about it:
1: (If you have the ability to) You can request to connect with them directly.
2: (Recommended) Request an introduction by someone you both are connected to.
When requesting a connection I recommend explaining (briefly) why you are requesting the introduction or connection. Your introduction letter is your first impression, and we’ve all heard the expression, the first impression is the lasting impression. Write an email that is brief, to the point, professional, and that will be interesting to the person you are requesting the connection with. I recommend doing some research on the company and (especially if this is a sales request), write it in a way that shows what you can do for the company.
While writing the introduction request, keep in mind this (very important) fact: What you write to your connection asking for an introduction will likely be forwarded to the person you are requesting an introduction with. Ensure it is professional and nothing personal or inappropriate is included in this communication.
Please note that you don’t have to connect with people only for career purposes, although this is very common. You may be connected through the same group or industry (i.e. have the same interests), or maybe you are looking for information on new industries or in a field that you are not familiar with. These connection requests are also (usually) well received.
Third, if your connection does forward the introduction request, and if the receiving party responds favorably, ask your questions in a professional, yet polite, manner. Don’t push them to give more information than they are willing to offer. Also, it is appropriate to ask them to point you in the right direction or for tips on how to connect with the right person for more information on obtaining an interview. If the connection is because you have similar interests, sending a ‘thank you for the connection’ email is appropriate.
Fourth, when someone asks you to introduce them to one of your connections or for information on your (current or former) company, I highly recommend that you help them out as much as you can. When you are willing to help others out in any way you can, then others are willing to help you out in return.