LinkedIn is one of our favorite resources for a variety of reasons, but one of the most powerful tools is the opportunity to get connected to new contacts through your current connections. There used to be a nifty tool on the site to formally ask one of your contacts to introduce you to a second-degree connections which we’ve outlined before on the blog. Unfortunately, this tool was recently taken away from the site, so today we want to give you an idea of how you can still leverage the power of your network to gain access to their contacts.
Search Your Area of Interest
Using the “Advanced Search” function, or the “Find Alumni” tool – conduct a search for who you’re looking for. Are you seeking alumni working in New York City in the nonprofit sector? Or maybe you’re just searching for any alumni that work in the sports and athletics industry? For the sake of this example, I searched for current students studying biology from the frame of an underclassmen wanting to connect with an upperclassmen to learn about their major. When you use the “Advanced Search” function, there are a variety of fields for you to narrow, including company, geographic area, etc., but make sure to include “University of Richmond” in the school field if you’re looking for alumni and/or current students.
Identify the Contact of Interest
Once you have conducted the search, look through the results to see if there’s a particular person of interest. Is there someone working at the company you’re really interested? Or maybe you find an alumni with a fascinating position title and you’re intrigued to learn more. For this introduction function, you’ll need to find someone who is listed as a 2nd degree connection – meaning you have contacts in common with them. In this search, I identified Taylor Fish as a current student majoring in biology. Since we’re 2nd degree connections, I was able to look at her LinkedIn profile to see that she’s a biology major (which as a reminder is my interest for the sake of this example!) and also noticed she has some experiences that I’m interested in learning more about.
You can see by the little “2nd” icon that she’s the type of connection I’m seeking and then by clicking on “5 shared connections” I can see exactly who we have in common. Since Lexie Brown is someone that I know well, I’m going to choose to reach out to her and ask for an introduction to Taylor.
Ask Your Contact for the Introduction
Navigate to the profile of the connection of yours that you’d like to ask to make the introduction. When you work on crafting your message you should be specific on your ask and descriptive on what you were searching for and how you found the contact of interest (Taylor in this example), but also keep up rapport with your contact, so that you are not purely asking for an introduction from them. In your subject, make it obvious what you’re writing about. In the body of your message, make your specific ask and explain how they can send a group message that will allow you to communicate with the contact of interest. Below you can see a screenshot of sending a message, but first here’s the sample message:
I hope that you’ve been doing well this semester since we last spoke! As I’ve been doing some more exploration of what I’d like to major in, and eventually pursue, I’m leaning towards declaring in the sciences and then going on to work in the healthcare field.
As a next step I would like to connect with an upperclassmen who has similar interests. After a search on LinkedIn, I came across your connection Taylor Fish. Would you be able to introduce me to Taylor, so that I can ask her some questions about being a biology major and what she’s learned about healthcare careers so far? If so, LinkedIn allows you to send a group message to two of your contacts in order to connect them. Feel free to copy this into the introduction message so that Taylor can see my direct interest in connecting with her.
Hope we have the chance to catch up soon, I look forward to hearing from you!
Wait on Your Contact
Now everything is in the hands of your contact. Depending on who you’re asking to be introduced to, they might reach out to your person of interest and make sure it’s OK before they make the connection. Understand that you may sometimes not hear back, or maybe the introduction isn’t made. It could be that the person you’re hoping to meet is really busy or maybe not interested in connecting. Don’t let one “no” or rejection dissuade you from continuing to find another new contact that could be helpful to you.
Follow Up with All Parties
Hopefully you do get a response and an introduction to the person of interest that you’d like to meet. Make sure to follow up with your contact who made the introduction (Lexie in this example) and thank them for helping you to get connected. It goes a long way and maybe one day you can return the favor by helping them connect to someone from your personal network.