How to ask a LinkedIn connection to introduce you to a hiring company. Tip #1: DON’T just send an introduction request

LinkedIn Get Introduced, LinkedIn introductions, get introduced through LinkedIn,
The Get Introduced tool
can be useful if used wisely.
The LinkedIn Get Introduced feature is a great weapon in your job search arsenal, but like any weapon, it should be handled carefully lest it backfire.

How LinkedIn introductions work
Through the LinkedIn Get Introduced feature, you can send a request to a LinkedIn friend (connection) to ask him or her to introduce you to one of his/her LinkedIn friends (a 2nd degree connection from you), or even to be introduced to a friend of that person’s friend (a 3rd degree connection from you). This can be a great way to make contact with a person within a target company where you want to work, but should be done strategically and diplomatically.

First, do your homework
1) Look through all of your LinkedIn connections. Click on their connections link and scan their connections. Observe if they are connected to people who work in companies where you would like to work. While you are doing this research, invite connections of theirs (who are mutual friends of yours) to connect on LinkedIn to build your network.

2) Type the name of the company in the “Search” box to learn of people who either work at the company now or who used to work for the company. Note what degree connection they are to you and/or whether they are members of the same LinkedIn group as you.

3) Determine which people have titles that could be most relevant to the position you seek. For example, you may want to be introduced to the person who is the likely hiring manager for the position, or to a recruiter or HR professional. Frankly, I had better luck connecting with executives or hiring managers than to recruiters (who are often jaded to all job seeker tricks), but you may have a different experience.

4) After you determine what person you want to reach, consider who your first degree contact is who can introduce you to the person. For example, if you want to be introduced to a 2nd degree connection, say, Becky Barnes, HR Manager at Mega Corp., consider if your 1st person connection, Lester Milktoast, is the right person to make the introduction. Is he a reputable, respected person? Is he someone who will follow through with such a request? Does he believe in your abilities enough to recommend you as he passes on your introduction?

5) If you are in a LinkedIn group with the person to whom you want to be introduced, you don’t have to go through a first degree connection to make his or her acquaintance. Contact them directly. Here's how:
  • Click Groups at the top of your home page.
  • Click the group's name.
  • Click the Members tab.
  • Move your cursor over the member's name and click the Send message link revealed on the right. (This link will appear if the member's settings allow them to be contacted by other group members).
  • Create your message and click Send Message.
Note: You can also click on a member's picture from the Discussions page and then click Send Message.

Prepare your 1st degree connection
If you have many first degree connections like I do, you may not know them well enough to feel comfortable asking them to introduce you to another complete stranger. In this instance, don’t give up, but do think smart. Before you send the introduction request, send a LinkedIn message to prepare your first degree connection and/or to get his/her valuable insight.

Write something like, Lester, I notice you are a first degree connection to Becky Barnes at Mega Corp. I really want to work there. Would you be comfortable if I were to send you a request to be introduced to her? Any information you can pass along about Becky or Mega Corp., or any good word you can put in for me to Becky or other people who might be hiring, would be greatly appreciated. I am looking for a position as a (TITLE). If you know of any leads in my field, I’d be so thankful! If you’d like, I can email you my resume so you can speak knowledgeably about me to Becky. Let me know your email address so I can send it to you. Thanks for your help.

Don’t abuse your relationship with your first degree connections by sending them too many introduction requests. Rather establish a relationship with them where you can be of help to them in some way. Let them know how their help benefitted you and thank them for their assistance.

3rd degree might be a degree too far
If the person you want to reach is a 2nd degree connection from your LinkedIn friend (your 3rd degree connection), realize that your friend likely does not know that person any better than you do (the person is their friend’s friend, not his/hers). So while it’s possible to do a 3rd degree introduction, it may not be an effective interaction. In this scenario, it might be better to reach out to the targeted person directly through a LinkedIn group or by trying to find their email address on Google and sending them a direct message.

Get introduced
Once you have established that it is all right to send an introduction request to a connection, send an effective Get Introduced message. Here's how.

While it pays to be cautious about sending LinkedIn introductions, it can be a great way to become acquainted with a hiring company ... after all, it can help you land a job or get a better one!

What tips or horror stories do you have about sending LinkedIn introductions? Add your comments via Contact Us. In the meantime, if I can be of help to you, let me know. -- Kathy

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