How Should You Introduce Yourself To A Stranger On Linkedin? Job search question of the week

Nov 10 2010 in Featured, Networking/Social Networking, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

job search information, job search advice, job search help, job search tips, career advice

During the Q & A part of my Resume Revolution Webinar, a participant asked me how to introduce yourself to someone new on Linkedin.

How you introduce yourself to a new contact could mean the difference between getting help and getting ignored …

Job seeker S.B. asked:

“Here is my question, How do I introduce myself to a stranger on Linkedin? Many times I am contacting them to get to know the manager, company, etc. I do not want to be direct and say hello, my name is so & so, I need your help.”

This is a great question and most job seekers blow the introduction – it causes a lower percentage of new connections to give help the job seeker needs.

Use this rule of thumb: Introduce yourself to a stranger on Linkedin just like you would face-to-face. Here’s the difference – you have the chance to find out much more information about your new contact online, before you send an introduction.

Would you approach a stranger on the street saying “Hello, my name is John Doe. Is your company hiring?” Probably not, right?

What a candidate wants to avoid when introducing yourself to strangers on Linkedin:

  1. Don’t identify yourself as a job seeker: There are two problems with this type of introduction – You look desperate and your new contact has been trained by their company that job seekers get referred to HR. In addition, this type of introduction makes people uncomfortable, because they may not have a job for you or may not be in a hiring position.
  2. Don’t ask for help: How do you feel if a stranger approached you on the street and asked you to introduce them to your boss? It makes most people uncomfortable – the new contact doesn’t know you, you’re asking them to put their reputation on the line through an introduction. Plus, why should the new contact even take the time to help you – they’re busy people.
  3. Don’t ask who is responsible for hiring: HR is responsible for hiring, job openings are listed on the company’s website – it’s a waste of your contact’s time, and an even bigger waste of the opportunity that a new contact can offer.

Candidate best practices to introduce yourself to strangers on Linkedin:

  1. Research first: What interests your contact? Do they blog, tweet, comment, or post status? What are they involved with? What groups are they in?
  2. Find a reason other than job search to connect: State that you liked their blog post (hint- comment on their blog first), comment on a tweet, even comment on a comment your new contact made on someone else’s blog.
  3. Offer help before you ask for help: Giving before you get is a great way to build loyalty with a new contact – aren’t they more likely to help you if you’ve first helped them? What can you offer as a candidate? Plenty – As a candidate, you have information, especially about competitors, customers, and vendors within your industry.

  4. Create innovative ways to help: Research on social networks to see what the contact is involved with outside of work, especially charities. Offer to volunteer for your contact’s favorite charity or to staff an event they are involved with.

  5. Ask about what’s important to them: People love to talk about themselves. You are much more likely to get a response, build a relationship and get help if you ask your new contact to talk about themselves. It’s not important that they know your background at this point … it’s much more important that your new contact feels that you care about them.
  6. Wait: By waiting until you’ve first built trust and rapport, you increase your chances many times over that your new contact will help you.

Readers: Any suggestions about what has worked well for you when introducing yourself to someone new on Linkedin?


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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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