“The Great Resignation is making it even more competitive for me to find my next opportunity,”  said a client yesterday while we checked in on her job search.

I asked her how many jobs she’s applied to.

“Three.”

And had she made a personal connection with anyone on LinkedIn at these organizations?

“No.”

I’m going to get soap-boxy for a minute here.  Do not waste your time applying to jobs without making a personal connection.

Great Resignation or not, relationships are essential to your job search. 

The easiest way to make those connections is through LinkedIn.

 

How to use LinkedIn to create a personal connection with strangers at organizations you’re applying to.

LinkedIn is a great tool to create connections with strangers at the organizations you’re applying to for jobs. The platform is no longer for executive level types. It’s for all of us and currently has 740 million active users! It’s a source for learning content, a place to grow your professional brand and visibility, and build new industry relationships.

According to this article, “…more than 70% of professionals get hired at companies where they have a personal connection. Additionally, we know this: job candidates who are referred by an employee are 8 times more likely to get hired.”(Don’t love your LinkedIn profile? Check out my quick DIY course.)

So how do you actually use LinkedIn to make connections with strangers?

 

#1 Use your first degree connections to get an introduction to the people you need to meet at the company.

Head to LinkedIn and look up the company to see if you have any first degree connections you can ask to introduce you.

Here’s a message you can send to your LinkedIn connection requesting an introduction:

“Hi! I see you’re connected with X who works at Y. I’m interested in a role there and would like to hear more about the culture. Possible for you to e-introduce us? If so, I can give you some language to use in the email. I really appreciate it!”

It’s totally normal to ask your network for help. That’s why they are there. Don’t feel guilty. Just like when I taught you about asking for reviews and recommendations.

Don’t have a 1st degree LinkedIn connection to the stranger?

If you don’t have a connection, scroll through the employees of the company and search for the keywords in the job description and for “recruiter.” Start digging into profiles to see if any have been active within the last 90 days. If they have, send them a connection request – WITH A NOTE like:

“Hi! I see you work at X. I’m interested in applying for X and curious to hear more about the culture. Would you ever be open to a quick call? Thanks!”

Rinse and repeat.

Note: Some people add their email addresses to their LinkedIn profile under “Contact Info.” If it’s listed, it’s fair game to use.

 

#2 Engage with the stranger’s posts on LinkedIn and Twitter to make a personal connection and become known to them.

Head to LinkedIn and Twitter to comment and engage with employees’ posts and content. You want them to get familiar with your name so ask questions, congratulate them on successes, and add to the conversation. This shows initiative and interest. Keep it less “stalker “and more “cheerleader.”

 

#3 Find out where the stranger networks professionally and start networking there as a conversation starter.

Attend events and webinars they are speaking at/participating in (if they’re open to the public) and be active in the chat. Avoid the tendency to lurk! You’re there so they can see your name and get to know you.

This experience will be something you can bring up in a LinkedIn message when you invite them to connect (which you will), during an interview, on a cover letter, etc.

How do you know what events they will be at? Check their LinkedIn activity, any other social media you find them on, and Google their name to see if anything comes up in the search. It’s likely if they are speaking, they will come up on the event website or they will have posted about the event.

 

Remember, LinkedIn is meant for connecting with strangers.

LinkedIn is a professional networking tool. It is designed for collaboration, resource sharing, and self-promotion. It is also designed for strangers to become colleagues and industry peers.

Do yourself a favor and try building a relationship before applying to a job without a personal connection.

 

Are we connected on LinkedIn yet? If not, let’s connect! You can find me here. Who knows, I may have a connection you’re looking for.