HOW TO: Meet People in Real Life via LinkedIn

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by Donna Svei on June 14, 2011

Last week a new LinkedIn connection, who I don’t know in real life, sent me the following note (more or less):

Donna,

Thanks for connecting on LinkedIn. Take a look at your schedule in the coming weeks and see if we can chisel a few minutes for a cup of coffee. I enjoy meeting my local connections whenever possible.

Paul Halvorsen

In looking at Paul’s profile, I could see that we have a lot in common professionally. Why not share a cup of coffee? The next time I’m in Boise, or he’s in Sun Valley, we’ll take the LinkedIn connection to real life.

How might this approach serve a job seeker wanting to do informational interviews?

    1. Join LinkedIn groups for your industry and job type.
    2. Join Linked In groups for your alma mater(s).

Look in your 1st level connections for locals, and even better, people who work(ed) for your target companies.

How do you find these people?

    1. Go to LinkedIn Advanced People Search.
    2. At “Postal Code” enter your zip/postal code and “Within” 50 miles.
    3. At “Groups” check the group you want to search for locals.
    4. At “Relationship” check “1st connections.”
    5. Click “Search.”

If you come up empty, search your chosen groups for local members. It’s the same search described above except for Step 4. Check “All Members” instead of “1st connections.” Some of these people are probably willing to receive messages from other group members. Invite them to connect:

Donna,

I see that we’re both members of the Pepperdine University Alumni group who live in the Boise area. I’d like to connect with you on Linked In.

Sincerely,

Paul Halvorsen

All connected? Good. Now reach out. That note might look like:

Donna,

Thanks for connecting on LinkedIn. Take a look at your schedule in the coming weeks and see if we can chisel a few minutes for a cup of coffee. I’m job hunting. Because you’re a production manager with more experience than I have, I would love to ask you for a little career advice – not a job – just advice.

Also, I simply enjoy meeting my local connections whenever possible.

Kind regards,

Paul Halvorsen

Will you get 100% “yes” responses? Of course not. But you probably will meet some people who are willing to give you an informational interview.

Which leads me to a final, cautionary note. Use sound judgment when you move relationships from social media platforms to real life. Frame your meetings professionally.

    1. Dress appropriately.
    2. Meet in a neutral, public place such as a Starbucks near your connection’s office.
    3. Schedule meetings just before or during normal business days and hours.

If you have any reservations about your safety, invite more people. Arrange for a mini meetup instead of a one-on-one.

Now, go ahead, expand your world!

BTW, please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/donnasvei. My email address is donnasvei@gmail.com. I love connecting with people who read my blog!

I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Save time. Get hired. Email me at donnasvei@gmail.com or call me at (208) 721-0131.


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