LinkedIn can be an incredible resource. It’s a tool that you can use to advertise yourself, leverage your connections, and gain access to other people’s connections. Because that’s what LinkedIn is: it’s a large, interconnected network that you can use to your advantage.

How can you do this? Well, you should always be looking for people who you can connect with. They could range from professionals who have a career-path that you admire, people who are where you want to be, or key players in your industry. When you find them, know that it is always an option to reach out to them to set up an informational interview. Even connecting with them for a brief amount of time will give you an opportunity to get advice or information that could help you make decisions, plan your future, and assess your present!

One of the best ways to make these connections is to reach out to them through people you already know. If you share a connection with a professional you admire, LinkedIn has a function that will set up an introduction for you. Here’s how you do it:

1. Go to your desired connection’s profile

2. Click the Get introduced function on the right side of their profile

3. If you share more than one mutual connection, select who you would prefer to introduce you

The next step is to write a request for an introduction, and those can be tricky. Here are two things to keep in mind:

1. Do your due diligence.

When you send out the email, it’s important that you convey that you know what you’re talking about. By requesting an introduction, you’re asking for access to another person’s network. This requires trust. If someone refers you to their connections, they’ll need to have some assurance that you’re worth it.

So, don’t write a vague email. Do your research and have a good understanding of the following:

  • What’s happening in your industry
  • Why you’re interested in it
  • Who the key players are

You don’t have to include all of this information in your outreach email, but keep in mind that mentioning a few important points will add credibility to your request. It will also make the person you’re reaching out to more comfortable referring you because they will have more to say about you.

2. Be able to explain why you want this introduction specifically.

Don’t send a generic email to multiple people. The key to getting connected is to specify why you really want to reach out to a particular person. Some things you can mention: their education, the company they currently work for, their past experience, or their industry. Again, this will provide your connection with a better sense of what they should say when they reach out to make the introduction.

Think of it this way: you want to make your connection’s job as easy as possible. You’re asking them to donate their free time so that you can gain access to their network. So, when you’re wording your outreach email, try and think of some things that you would like to know if you were being asked to make an introduction. How would you word your email? What would you want to know about a person? What would make this task easier for you?

One final tip: when you’re searching for professionals to connect with, aim for peer-level before you progress to the Recruiters or Management at a company. Get your feet wet before diving in – this will help you become more familiar with the company so that you can ask powerful questions that will get the attention of people who can help you get to where you want to go.

Want to learn more about how to leverage LinkedIn? Come join me on November 3rd and learn more about how to use LinkedIn to achieve your career goals!