In many of the CPR My Career training videos, and the steps we outline for job seekers, we talk at length about pursuing the hiring manager on LinkedIn. But most of the time, this is easier said than done. For many, the response on LinkedIn is no different than the response you get from the rest of a job search.
Nothing. You send Inmail, or you follow up with an email, but it’s dead air.
You’ve found a job you’re highly qualified for and re-written your resume demonstrating why you’re a perfect fit for the position. Yet as you try to network into this company – looking for someone to help you – nothing happens. You even reach out to connections at the company who can give you the name of the hiring manager, but they don’t respond and eventually you give up and quit.
Two Problems with This Approach
First, you probably did not pursue more than five people and gave up too early. When in reality, you must pursue a minimum of 10-15 people at that company.
Second, you are often better off going to 2nd level connections, or friends of friends, because you might have a stronger friendship with someone that knows someone at the company you’re targeting.
Let’s Map It Out
Let’s say I’m trying to get a job at Company X. I’m connected to two former colleagues – people I worked with 20 years ago – and they all work at Company X. I found a great job and re-wrote my resume, and I keep reaching out to these individuals on LinkedIn with no response.
There are several reasons they aren’t responding to me. They might think they don’t know me, or if they do, they barely remember me. I was just a professional contact, and not someone they cared about. These people may have cared about me when we worked together, because I mattered and affected their salary or job in some way. But now I don’t.
We’ve been detached for an extended period of time and they’re not going to help me. They’re either too busy to help me. Or they aren’t using LinkedIn despite having a profile.
How many times did you use LinkedIn when you were actively employed? Almost never, unless you’re a human resource professional. So don’t be shocked when your first-level connections don’t respond. They’re probably all non-users.
With that said, I most likely also have lots of 2nd degree connections, which means I have connections with people, who then have connections with people, at Company X.
These are friends of friends.
For demonstration purposes, I'm going to use the CPR My Career LinkedIn company page.
Click See all beneath your shared connection on the right.
The Company X LinkedIn page will show me how many people at Company X have a LinkedIn profile, and how those people are connected to me. When I click on See all, a page opens with each of those shared connections, and I’ve just identified everyone at Company X that I’m connected with, and that he or she is also connected with.
Click 2nd degree connections in the options on the left.
Now I’m going to find my strongest shared connection – that’s the person I know the best, regardless of who they are. This should be an ally who will advocate for me. And the only way to do that is to prove I am worthy of being supported. I can’t just beg for help. I still need to prove I’m the ultimate candidate, for the ultimate position at Company X.
Click the green link beneath each 2nd degree connection to find your closest ally!
I will reach out to my ally and give him or her the job description and my re-written resume and tell that person this is my dream job. I’ll explain I was an expert at this for nth-number of years, and I couldn’t have written the job description better if I had written it myself.
Now my friend will possibly go out of their way to help me, because they may have a strong friendship with a person at Company X that I don’t have. This is how I’ll get in the door, and where my direct connections didn’t help me.
After You’re in the Door
When I get to that person, I’ll do the same thing. I will prove I’m the ultimate candidate for a position at Company X by asking for a face to face meeting or a phone call. And no matter what, I’ll email my resume and the job description, and ask them to take 30 seconds to review it and see for themselves why I’m the ultimate candidate. After I’ve done this, I’ll ask this person to hand deliver my resume to the hiring manager.
Finding a new job may be the hardest job you’ve ever had. You can expect this process to take several hours over several days. But if you follow what I’ve outlined, you will find success using your connections on LinkedIn.