I recently shared my favorite LinkedIn Tip on LinkedIn (how appropriate), but want to include here for my clients in active job search: Your second-degree connections on LI can make all the difference in your job search. Even those of you with hundreds (and by that, I mean thousands) of first-degree connections often don’t take the time to mine the first-degree connections of your first-degree connections.
The benefit is that if there is anyone among those second-degree connections with whom you’d like to have an introduction, you have a ready referral source who can facilitate the contact. This significantly boosts the likelihood of a favorable response. And it enhances your ability to arrange a “talk shop” conversation. Plus, you grow your base of networking contacts exponentially.
Let’s say you are relatively new to LinkedIn—and you have reached out or accepted 100 invitations to connect. If each of those contacts has 100 first-degree connections, that’s 1,000 possibilities. If each of your 100 connections has just two first-degree contacts with whom you’d love to speak, that’s 200 higher-prospect contacts than you’d have simply doing cold-call outreach.
And if you are a super-user with more than 500 first-degree connections and each of those 500 (for simplicity’s sake) has 100 contacts, that’s 50,000. Whoa—that’s a huge number. And I’ll bet many of these folks top the 100-contacts mark easily.
What’s the best way to optimize this outreach? Start by prioritizing your first-degree connections into three groups. Your A group should include your very best professional contacts (“Great seeing you at the conference. As I mentioned, I’m reinvigorating my job-search campaign and would greatly appreciate an introduction to Sam Adams and anyone else you might recommend.”).
The B tier would still likely provide some good contacts, but perhaps those where your reach-out might require a little reminder (“It doesn’t seem possible that a year has passed since we were both working at ABC before they moved operations to the West Coast. Would love to connect and share search strategies. I’d also appreciate an intro to Sam Adams in your network…”).
Your C contacts would be “lowest likelihood of success” where you’d have to fully reintroduce yourself (“We were both at Cher’s retirement dinner, but didn’t have a chance to chat. I’m reinvigorating my job-search campaign and would greatly appreciate an introduction to Sam Adams in your network…”).
Finally, there are undoubtedly first-degree contacts in your LI network that you don’t know at all—or don’t remember accepting. If they have a great first-degree connection with someone you want to meet, though, go ahead and reach out. Just save this third group of folks for your lowest priority contacts.
In active search, be sure to methodically spend an hour or two a day in this networking effort. I believe you’ll be surprised at what the results may be!
About Jan Melnik — The author of Telling Tales: On Merlin’s Island, Executive’s Pocket Guide to ROI Resumes and Job Search, and Adventures in The Wooded Glen (as well as 6 other career/business start-up books), I have been crafting branded resumes and LinkedIn profiles for executives, rising professionals, and new graduates for many years. In addition to my role as the CMO coach through C-Suite Career Catalysts, I am passionate about teaching as a business and English professor at the University of South Florida and Bay Path University. I’d love to connect! Visit me on LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/janmelnik). You can also read about my books at https://www.amazon.com/author/janmelnik.