Last month, a reader asked me how he could use LinkedIn when the hiring managers he wants to pursue aren’t active on the site.
Guessing that he’s not the only person in the world facing that challenge, I reached out for some actionable ideas. Here’s what I got:
Find a Shared Connection
Kolby Goodman, a career coach, suggests you find a shared connection and ask that person to introduce you to the hiring manager via email.
That request might look like this:
I have been looking at various positions at [Company Name] and saw that you know Ed Rasmussen. I was hoping you could introduce me to him via email. I would love the opportunity to ask him a few questions about working there.
Ask Someone Who Has Endorsed the Hiring Manager for Help
Sunil Sani, the co-founder of CareerGlider.com, suggests getting a little gutsier. Message one of the hiring manager’s endorsers and ask them to introduce you.
That request might look like this:
I see that you are connected to Hannah Joyce and have endorsed her for her leadership skills. I have been excited to learn about her company and am interested in working there.
I would greatly appreciate it if you would be willing to introduce me to Hannah via email.
Thanks so much!
Research the Hiring Manager’s Interests
Hank Boyer, an Executive Consultant, suggests researching the hiring manager’s interests by:
- Noting their LinkedIn Group memberships.
- Reading their entire profile for additional intel.
(Pro tip: Be sure that your privacy setting allows the hiring manager to see that you have viewed his or her profile, just in case they drop by LinkedIn.)
Then email the hiring manager an article you think might interest them.
That email might look like this:
I’m interested in working for you at [Company Name]. I checked your LinkedIn profile and thought this excellent article on implementing the new FDA regulations on sunscreen labeling might interest you. Yes, I read those things.
I understand you might not have any open positions right now, but would you be willing to let me host you for a brief, masked, outdoor coffee meeting near your home or office this week or next?
I would appreciate the opportunity to learn what I need to do for you to consider me a top pipeline candidate for your next opening.
Go Live to Ask for an Introduction
Rich Grant, a career advisor, suggests considering a variety of sources for common ground when looking for people to introduce you:
- People you know right now.
- Alumni of schools you’ve attended.
- Members of your professional associations.
- Current employees and alumni of companies where you have worked.
Rich says you should call these people because talking with them helps you get a better sense of the strength of their connection to the hiring manager.
It also sometimes yields a major bingo where the person says, “Oh yes, Dorothy was my college roommate! I want to catch up with her anyway.”
Research Says This Beats Emailing or Calling
Research published by the Harvard Business Review in 2017 found that requests made in person are 34 times more likely to be supported than requests made via email.
Get face-to-face with people who can help you every chance you have.
And then figure out how to make more face time opportunities.
“That’s ALL Outside My Comfort Zone”
You can walk away from this tested advice and fail to make contact with the hiring manager who controls access to your dream job. Or, you can try some of these ideas.
One of two things will happen:
- You will fail and feel some level of personal, private discomfort that you will get over.
- You will succeed—part of the time. Don’t expect to bat a thousand, but do expect to get some base hits that you will celebrate.
The Source of Those Sample Requests
I adapted real requests for introductions that I have received from LinkedIn connections.
I passed each of them along to the hiring manager with a note explaining that I don’t know the person and that I was sharing their request as a courtesy. I said they should feel free to act on the request or ignore it as they wanted.
Many of them chose to follow up.
BTW, sometimes I don’t know the hiring manager either. I just like to do a little karma banking and help make the world go around a bit better.
Finding the Hiring Manager
BTW, you have to find hiring managers to know if they’re active or not. Use this tool to locate them on LinkedIn and other social sites.
Please don’t hesitate to invite me to connect on LinkedIn here. The more I know about my readers, the more relevant I can make my blog!
Update July 2020
© 2014 – 2020, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by 100+ business, general, and career media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, Payscale, Business News Daily, and the Muse.
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