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Author: Lavie Margolin, Career Coach

A key to networking when looking for a job is to find someone that knows someone that works at an organization of interest. LinkedIn has made it very easy to do this. If you are able to connect with 100 people that you actually know who in turn know 100 people (100×100), that is 10,000 people, one level away from you. It is likely that one of those 10,000 people works for your company of interest or can help you. How can you connect with that person and maximize the relationship?

Most people do not make use of their contacts on LinkedIn. The first step is to find the people that can help you. Once you have built up your contacts, search under ‘people’ for industry keywords or company names. For example, a social worker can look for terms such as LCSW, Smoking Cessation or Associated Organization For Helping The Youth. Most likely, you will find several contacts in your results. Sort those contacts by connection level: if you are a first level contact with the person, you probably already know how to connect with them. Third level contacts are less likely to be helpful to you, as you need to ask someone to connect you to someone who will then connect you with that person (this sentence is a tongue twister if you say it very fast!).

To utilize LinkedIn most effectively, focus on your second level contacts. Someone that you know that knows someone. You’ve know identified a person of interest as well as your contact, who knows that person. What to do now? Reach out to your contact. Explain to your contact why you would like to connect to that person.

Dear Jake,
I hope all is well since we last spoke. I noticed that you know Jim James. I am not sure if you are aware but I am exploring my career options and Jim seems like a great person to connect with. I’d love to sit down with Jim over a cup of coffee and learn more about his agency and get some advice/suggestions on the best way to apply for jobs at the organization. Please let me know either way what you think and how I can be helpful to you.  

You might also want to be proactive with Jake. Instead of making him write an email on your behalf, write a note to Jim James and ask Jake to forward it:

Dear Jake,
I hope all is well since we last spoke. I noticed that you know Jim James. I am not sure if you are aware but I am exploring my career options and Jim seems like a great person to connect with. Would you be comfortable forwarding the note below to Jim?

Dear Jim,
I noticed that we share a contact in common, Jake. Jake and I have been friends since college and I am so appreciative of having him in my network. I am reaching out to you as I am in a state of transition with my career and I am looking to connect with other Social Workers. In reviewing your LinkedIn profile, I noticed that you have worked in several environments and I’d love to learn more about those experiences. I am sure your time is quite limited but I am wondering if we can have a business lunch sometime over the next week? 

It is a numbers game. Some people will respond, some will not. Some will forward your information, some will not. In order to have success, you must try.

 

About the Author: Lavie Margolin is a New York-based Career Coach and the author of Lion Cub Job Search: Practical Job Search Assistance for Practical Job Seekers. To learn more, go to Lavie’s website, Lion Cub Job Search:www.Lioncubjobsearch.com