One of the most pleasant surprises of a job search is that most people you encounter are glad to help you. Sometimes people you barely know will go out of their way to lend a hand.
The biggest challenge, however, is that they don’t always know how to help. That is where you come in. As a job seeker, you have to do the legwork and make it really easy for someone to take it from there. The more you take the lead, the more help you receive.
One of the things you can do is search the network of your warmest connections to see the best choices for introductions. Don't expect that they will know the best contacts for you. Once you have identified a good contact in the network of a connection, you can ask for an introduction.
First of all, get connected on LinkedIn. People cannot easily make LinkedIn introductions if you are not in their network. So, let’s say you meet a really nice connection at an event. Go to LinkedIn and search for the person’s profile. Always open the profile and select connect from there. Once the profile is open, it gives you a chance to send a personal message. If you are already connected to the contact, start on step 2.
Once you are connected, open the profile again. You will see the number of connections that person has to the right in blue. If the person has more than 500 connections, you will see 500+ connections. Click on the number.
That will take you to a section that shows some of their connections. At the top right, you will see a magnifying glass, click there and a search box will appear.
Then, in the search box, use key words to search that person’s network. Let’s say, you were looking for IT connections in Atlanta. You can add those two key words separated by a comma. Hit enter.
In the case of this particular contact I am using, she has 341 contacts with those two key words. You can scroll through the list, but that is a lot of possible contacts. There is a way to then do an advanced search on her matching contacts to narrow your focus. Click on the blue link “advanced search”
Then, using the filtering on the left, you can narrow by company, industry, etc.
Once you identify a good contact, you can send your connection a message and request an introduction. Again, the easier you make it, the better. It usually works best to craft an email to your connection and right down below it, add a note to the person you are requesting to be introduced to. That way, all your contact has to do is to forward along the message.
Here is an example written as if my contact “John Smith” were asking me for an introduction to my contact “Jane Jones” who works at a Coca Cola where he recently applied for a position:
Hi Dana, I hope you are doing well. I recently applied for a financial position at Coca Cola where you have a connection with Jane Jones. Would you be so kind as to introduce me to Jane? See introduction email below. If it is convenient for you, you can simply forward along the message. If you don't feel comfortable with this introduction, I understand completely. If I can help you with anything, please let me know. Thanks so much!
"Jane, My name is John Smith I recently applied for a Director, Financial Planning and Analysis position at Coca Cola and was wondering if you could assist me. Would you be open to a quick call to learn more about Coca Cola? I am doing some due diligence and am interested in an insider’s view on the culture and business climate. Thank you and I do hope I have the pleasure to talk with you. John"
Taking the time to do the groundwork and making it easy for your network to help you can make all the difference in the world in terms of getting good results. Do yourself a favor -- help your network help you! Happy hunting!