Sunday, August 21, 2011

Requesting an Introduction

One of the most powerful features of being on LinkedIn is the ability to request introductions to connections of your connections. That is, you want to connect to someone on LinkedIn who is a 2nd or 3rd level connection.

When would this occur?

  • When you are applying for a new job. It might increase the likelihood for your resume to be read if you have a warm introduction via a connection at the company.
  • If you are seeking advice or insight on a company or an industry where you don't have much experience. If you don't have knowledge, find someone who does, through someone you know.
  • You may be considering changing professions or industries, and seeking to meet for an "informational interview." During these interviews, you are looking to pick their brain about entry requirements, candid comments about their profession/company/industry, and hopefully to gain insights to help you affirm your consideration of this potential move.
Basically, you are seeking a warm introduction. As with many other features of LinkedIn, there is a process and there is also the unspoken etiquette which may help your chances of connecting. Hopefully this post helps you with both. 

Here's how to request an introduction to connect to a 2nd or 3rd level LinkedIn connection:
  1. Click on the person's name who you wish to connect with. This will bring up their LinkedIn profile page.
  2. Check to see if this person is in your LinkedIn network. If so, you will see a small blue "2nd" or "3rd" next to their name. Note: if you see "1st," you are already connected. 
  3. Click on "Get introduced through a connection," which is located on the right side of your screen. See image below. 
  4. Select a name that appears in the list.
    I recommend choosing the person you know the best from this list. If the person you are looking to connect to is a 2nd level connection, your note will go through one connection. If it's a 3rd level connection, your note will go through your direct connection, and then that person will have to send it through one of their connections to help you connect.
  5. Follow the steps to compose your request to connect. Select the appropriate option from the drop-down menu and provide your contact information. Then, type a short, professional, gracious note explaining why you wish to connect.
  6. Keeping in mind that your note may be forwarded along to the person you wish to connect with, compose your request to your connection. Be specific. Explain why you wish to connect and be honest. Provide a bit of detail and if necessary, remind your connection how you know each other. Then, make sure you politely request an introduction. This involves a sentence with a question mark, not one with a period. (ex: "Can you please connect me with Kari Kovar?" versus "Connect me with Kari.") Remember that your note may be forwarded along, so be sure to be professional and gracious.
  7. Proofread your messages, then click send. Did I mention to keep in mind that your message to your connection may be forwarded along? Yes, it's worth mentioning this again. You'd be surprised how often people assume this message is deleted, and therefore they aren't as professional or gracious in their request.
That's it! Hopefully within a few days your request will be reviewed and approved, and you'll be directly connected to the individual you are seeking.