Posted By Amanda Collins on April 6, 2010
Who doesn’t love to talk about themselves? While it may seem self-serving, this little tidbit of knowledge may be the key to landing your next job through social media. It works particularly well on LinkedIn.
Imagine that you are targeting a few specific companies for your next position. For sake of argument, let’s say they’re IBM, Procter and Gamble, and Kodak, and the position you’re seeking is Director of Marketing (this works with any position or company, by the way). LinkedIn allows you to search for people based on company, so head over to the advanced search engine and start with IBM. Look for people who currently work at IBM in marketing. I found 370 in the U.S. who fit that category. Say you want to work in New York; that search garners 80 results. You want to shoot for the person who is at least one level above you, so I found Matt Preschern, the VP of Marketing at IBM. He is my second-level connection and he only has 144 total connections, so he’s more likely to take a look when he gets an e-mail.
Since Matt is connected to me through two people, I can either ask for an introduction from one of them, I can connect with him on LinkedIn, or I can Google him to see if I can get his e-mail address. When I did Google him, up he came – with all of his contact information. So now I can go back to LinkedIn and put in his e-mail when I connect with him, so LinkedIn thinks I know him.
In that initial contact, what you say is very important. DO NOT ASK FOR A JOB!! I cannot stress this enough. You are on a fact-finding mission. Here’s an example of what I might send Matt:
“Hi, Matt. I was looking through LinkedIn and came across your profile. I see that you’re currently at IBM and have a depth of experience in the company. I’m fascinated with what you’re doing over there, and I was hoping to connect and bend your ear for a few minutes to learn more. Perhaps we can set up a time for coffee / a phone call in the next week. I look forward to connecting and learning more about you.”
Notice that no mention of job seeking was made. You are looking to learn more about him. Hopefully, Matt will be receptive to the e-mail and will return the favor. While you have him as a captive audience, do ask about what he’s doing at IBM. What is their current marketing strategy? What goals do they have for the future? Where are they having challenges moving forward? Essentially, you are gathering information to set yourself up as the solutions provider!
After you’ve learned about Matt and his role at IBM, business etiquette suggests he will ask about you. That’s when you tell him where you are. Provide solutions to what his current and future needs are, tell him you’re currently researching opportunities in marketing and IBM is one of your target companies. Suggest that you’re open to consulting positions or something more permanent. Since you’ve already showcased your value, you’re now positioning yourself to be offered a job.
Now, I’m not saying this is 100% fool-proof and will result in a new job, but it can’t hurt. At the very least, you will have made a new connection – and you have no idea who this person knows.