LinkedIn is, without a doubt, one of the greatest tools for job seekers in finding hiring managers and potential employers. But if you view it as your primary way of connecting with potential contacts rather than a robust resource for information, you could be making your search more difficult than it needs to be.
Let me explain what I mean as I walk you through a “how to” on connecting with new contacts directly with the information you learn on LinkedIn. First off…
Think of LinkedIn As Your Personal White Pages
I’ve written before about my philosophy that out of quantity, quality is born. The more first-degree connections you have, the larger your phone book.
The tool I highly recommend to all my clients for building a vast first level of like-minded networkers is OpenNetworker. After signing up with them, you will see your connections grow exponentially—as well as your ability to find the people with whom you want an audience. In my case, simply by signing up, my connections went from around 1,000 (which took me almost 4 years to build) to 19,869 in about 24 months…ultimately connecting me to just under 22,000,000 LinkedIn users:
What I am going to walk you through today is only one of the techniques I teach in my Job Search 2.0 Bootcamp. I want to show you how adopting this approach can get you in front of more hiring managers and help you take control of what they’re hearing and seeing about you.
Here are the basics that you need for this technique:
- The name of the company you’re interested in.
- The role (you can select more than one if you’re uncertain) to which you would be reporting. You’re looking for decision-makers here, not HR reps or recruiters. In my video, I walk through this step by step. (More information on that below.)
Searching on LinkedIn
Using the above criteria, conduct a search on LinkedIn to find the right point of contact—who you would be reporting to in your ideal role. Write down their full name. If you’re on the fence about who your ideal contact is, take down all possible options you can find on LinkedIn.
Tip: I recommend starting your search as broadly as possible. Run it by company only, and then start adding in criteria like location, title or keywords. It’s always better to cast a wide net to begin with and then narrow your search as you go.
Searching on Google
Next, in order to reach out to this contact on your own, we’re going to move from LinkedIn to Google. If you think you might have a good mutual connection to use instead of making your own introduction, that’s fine. But I recommend using my “litmus test” in the tip below before relying on someone else to get you in the door. You need to know exactly how good an advocate they are going to be.
Tip: When trying to decide whether you should use a connection for an introduction or go it alone, use this easy litmus test: Ask your connection if they’re willing to make a call to the contact you’re trying to reach. If they’re reluctant to do so and only offer to email—or, worse yet, put your resume in front of someone in HR—politely thank them and go it alone. Someone with a solid relationship who bears weight won’t hesitate to pick up the phone. Anything else is simply an introduction with no teeth and a missed opportunity to make a meaningful first impression.
So, using Google, we’re going to find out how to email our new contact at their company address. To do this, simply add the “@” sign in front of the URL of the company you’re interested in in the Google search box. In my video, I use the example of Applied Robotics. You can see below what this search looks like:
You may need to dig through a page or two of search results to find the right format. (I also share some secrets on uncovering hard-to-find email formats in my video.)
Once you’ve found the correct format, use the contact name you found through LinkedIn and apply that format to it. For instance, if your contact is Robert Smith and the format for his company’s email is “first initial, last name @ xyzcorp.com,” then his email address would be “email@example.com.”
You can now reach out directly to this potential hiring manager without being concerned about getting through HR, recruiters or any other gate keepers first.