LinkedIn is the premier professional networking site in the world. So, why is it so hard to network on it?
People frequently make a seemingly generous offer:
“Feel free to look through my connections on LinkedIn and let me know if you want an introduction to anyone!”
But this is surprisingly cumbersome and inefficient to do. There’s an easy way to do this – it just requires being methodical.
Step 1: Get Clear On Your Goals
Before you ask anyone for an introduction or referral, you have to know exactly what you’re seeking. It’s much easier for someone to help when you give them a specific ask.
Write down the companies you’d like to be introduced to. If you’re job searching, also consider writing down the specific job titles you’re interested in learning more about. Keep your notes in an Excel spreadsheet.
Step 2: Use Advanced Filter to Mine Their Contacts
Once you have a clear idea of what you’re aiming for, then it’s time to dive into LinkedIn.
Go to the LinkedIn profile of the person who offered to open their network to you. Click on their contacts.
Then, choose the option for an “Advanced Filter.” Review your list of target companies and choose one company to enter in the “Company” search box.
If your contact has connections at the company you’re targeting, they will appear. If one of the connections is of interest, ask for the introduction (as described in Step 3 below).
If your contact does not have any connections at the company you’re targeting, change your filter and search for a different company on your list. Keep gooing through your list of companies until you either find a match or you don’t have any other companies to inquire about.
Step 3: Write the Introduction Email
It’s common for people to be connected to those they don’t actually have a relationship with. Sometimes they might not have ever met a subset of their LinkedIn connections.
Before asking for an introduction, check to confirm your contact has a relationship with the person you’d like to be introduced to.
Send your contact a LinkedIn message or email saying:
I appreciate your kind offer to open up your network to me. As you know, I’m interested in connecting with individuals in legal services. I’ve long been interested in [company or firm name] and noticed you’re connected with [insert name of person you want an introduction to].
Do you have a relationship with him/her? If so, would you be willing to make an introduction?
If your contact is willing to make an introduction, offer to ghostwrite the introductory email. This makes it as easy as possible for the other person and ensures the reason for the introduction is clear and accurate.
Here’s an example of an email you might send to your contact after they confirmed they’re willing to make an introduction:
Thank you for your willingness to make that introduction. I’m really looking forward to meeting [insert name].
To make it easy on you, I’ve ghostwritten an introductory email that you can copy + paste. Feel free to edit as you see fit.
I’ll keep you posted on how the conversation goes. Thanks again,
Introductory Email to [Name]
I was recently talking with [your name], who [insert your current role/job]. She/he is CC’d on this note. I wanted to introduce you because she/he [insert reason for the introduction].
I know you’ll enjoy the conversation and I’m sure [insert your name] will follow up with you shortly.