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  • Ina Rose

Passion 4 People Getting Hired: LinkedIn and the Power of Second Connections

Welcome back to our Getting Hired Blog! Building on last month’s post about your LinkedIn profile, this month we look at how to leverage your connections on this platform. Hopefully by now, you’ve built a network of 500+ connections. (If not, get moving – connect with anyone you can think of where you have a real relationship – neighbors, members of organizations you belong to, old university friends).

Beyond your first connections lies a much greater network of second connections. This month, I’ll share with you an approach I learned from New York Times bestselling author Steve McClatchy ( that should help you use your second connections in your networking for a new job. The goal is to get a meeting with your selected second connections.

The Power of Second Connections on LinkedIn

1. Using the market landscape that you developed, insert the name of a target company in LinkedIn’s search box. Once you find that company, click on the “People” tab to see who works there. If you see someone in the listing who would be a good contact for your in your job search and they have 2nd listed next to their name, it will list below how many connections you have to that person. The more connections, the better your chances!

2. If you have multiple connections to one person, pick the first connection with whom you feel you have the strongest relationship (example, PAUL). Reach out to Paul and ask if you can use their name when you contact the second connection, for example – ALEXA.

3. An example of this approach: Send an email (example below) to your direct connection, Paul, asking him if you can make reference to your relationship when you reach out to Alexa, the connection you'd like to contact through him. You don’t ask him to do anything but reply Yes or No. Most of the time, people are happy to help. Sometimes they offer to reach out on your behalf and sometimes they say, I don’t know him/her that well.

4. If he agrees, send an email to Alexa with Paul’s name in the subject line (ex. Referred by Paul Smith). You can find many email addresses on (five free lookups per month on Rocketreach, which might be enough). Sometimes you can find the format of a company email from its website. You can also put some guesses in the BCC line. When the person responds, you’ll know which one worked.

Remember: the objective is a meeting. If Alexa isn’t open to that, then a phone call. If that doesn’t work, exchange information. Send her your resume with a short blurb about what you are looking for in your next role. It’s important to be specific. Do NOT say you are open to anything. You may be open to all options, but saying that doesn’t do anything to properly direct your contact to action.

If you see a job posting on LinkedIn that you are interested in, certainly apply but use the same process to get your resume to the top of the pile. It’s the same strategy as above, with one exception. When you send your email, you will still use the subject line: Referred by Paul but in the body of the email, you’ll reference the job posting number and area, if it’s a big company.

You should set a goal to do this same process with five companies on your market landscape each day. This can take some time because not everyone will answer you right away, especially as we move through the holidays. Be patient. Keep track of your efforts. Make sure to log your activity in your market landscape (we talked about this in Blog #3) and a follow-up on your spreadsheet or in Outlook as a task.

Example of Email to a Direct Connection:

Paul, I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving. I am thinking of moving on from ABC and I’m targeting other pharma companies in NJ. I would like to ask you a favor. I was going to reach out to Alexa Tan at Awesome Pharma Co. to see if there might be opportunities there. I saw that you are connected to her on LinkedIn. I was wondering if I could make reference to our relationship when I reach out to her. I know sometimes we are connected to people on LinkedIn that we don't know so well. If you don't know Alexa well or if you'd prefer that I don't use your name, no worries. I have other connections to her as well, you were just my favorite! Thanks in advance for your help. Ina

If they don't respond to that email, here's an example of a follow-up:

Paul, I just wanted to gently check in to see if it would be okay to make reference to our relationship when I reach out to Alexa. Thanks, Ina

I know it can be nerve-wracking to approach people for referrals, but what should make it easier is that you’re only asking to use their names. It’s a simple yes/no question, and as I mentioned, sometimes people will offer to make the introduction for you. With the holidays approaching, you can also wish them happy holidays as we move into December.

Good luck in your search!

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