Ten years ago during the infancy of LinkedIn, I created my profile and waited to see what happened. You can guess, right? Nothing happened!

At some point I realized that the system wasn’t producing any useful results for me. I was at a crossroads and had to make a decision. Should I give up and ignore it, or roll up my sleeves and learn how to use the system better? I made the decision that I would invest more effort into learning how to grow my network in a strategic manner and better use the overall functionality.

So, here I am ten years later. Because I made the investment of time and energy over the past few years, I am now in a position to leverage my extensive network when I need it. As mentioned in the Social Media chapter of my job search book Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!),

“LinkedIn is my primary tool for business networking.”

LinkedIn can be used for a wide range of purposes. To help you leverage the value of LinkedIn, I want to share one simple success strategy for making changes during your career.

Leveraging LinkedIn to Make the Right Connections

One of them most important factors in making career changes is connecting with the right people. Whether you want to engage a person who can give you critical information, a recruiter, or a hiring manager, this simple process will help you achieve your goals:

– Do your LinkedIn research to determine the “targets” you would like to engage in a conversation. Use the Advanced Search page to identify people by employer name, title, and … most importantly… for only your second level connections.

– For every second level contact that looks promising, on the line below the name click on the link titled “x shared connections” to see all your first level contacts who are directly connected to your “targets”.

– Review all these first level connections and decide which one is your first choice for requesting an introduction to your “target”.

– If you have the email or phone number of the first level contact who can connect you to the second level you want, rather than using the internal LinkedIn function of “Get introduced” or firing off an InMail, email or call your first level contact directly.

– Ask your contact for an introduction to your “target”. If possible, offer to provide them a script for making the introduction and let them know that you are OK if they want to modify it to their liking.

– Monitor the situation to insure the introduction is made in a timely manner. If it isn’t, follow up to request a status.

Once you have connected with the “target”, circle back to the introducer and thank them again for their effort.

While there are many additional ways to leverage LinkedIn for introductions, I have found this process to be the simplest. It tends to produce relatively good results… assuming you have a good relationship with your first level contact and they have a good relationship with your second level “target”. (If you find that these two relationships are not in place, it may be best to ditch this process in the beginning and try a different approach.)

If you have not tried something similar to this, I recommend you give it a chance. Done well, it is possible you can be talking to key people you want in less than 24 hours.

Richard Kirby, CMC, Atlanta Premier Executive Career Consultant

Atlanta executive career consultant Richard Kirby of Executive Impact has over 12 years of successful experience mentoring professionals and executives through successful career transitions and life-changing job searches. His methodical career change programs start with career assessment testing, followed by career options identification and analysis that defines short-term and long-term career goals. Testing and analysis form the foundation for subsequent resume writing, career marketing plans, networking strategies, and job interview enhancements. To learn key strategies for proper career planning, grab a free excerpt from his eBook Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!)

Richard Kirby – who has written posts on Executive Impact.

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