Requesting an introduction is a good way to connect with people in your network whom you don't connect with directly. Although you can send an invitation to connect to someone you don't know, you might want to consider requesting an introduction through a shared connection for important communications. An introduction can carry more weight than a cold contact.
For example, let's say that you're connected to your former manager Felice (1st degree connection) and Felice is connected to Dalton (2nd degree connection), a manager at another local company. You're very interested in working in Dalton's department, but you don't know him and haven't seen any posted job openings. Rather than sending Dalton an email and resume as a cold contact, you could send an introduction request through Felice.
Often you'll know already how you're connected to the person you want to reach, but you can also determine this by viewing the How You're Connected To [First Name] section in the right column of your target contact's profile. If you don't already know of a common connection, this section could list a name you recognize.
Here are several tips for making the most of LinkedIn introductions:
- Talk to your 1st degree connection before sending an introduction request on LinkedIn. Your connection might have information that's pertinent to your request. For example, if you're trying to reach someone about job opportunities, your connection might know if your target is hiring or if there's a more suitable person to contact.
- Focus on introductions to 2nd degree connections for best results. Although you can request an introduction to a 3rd degree connection, this requires two intermediaries. In many cases, the second intermediary (your 2nd degree connection passing on your request to your 3rd degree connection) might not even know you.
- Make your introduction request concise and specific. A vague request to "get to know" someone isn't nearly as effective as stating your specific purpose, such as seeking employment, recruiting for a job, offering consulting services, and so forth.
- Keep in mind that you can have only five open introductions at one time with a free LinkedIn basic account. You can find out how many introductions you still have available on the Account & Settings page (go to the global navigation bar, click the down arrow to the left of your name, and select Settings from the drop-down menu). To increase your number of open introductions, you need to upgrade to a premium account. LinkedIn recommends using introductions judiciously rather than as a tool to contact hundreds of members.
To request an introduction, follow these steps:
- Click the Get Introduced Through a Connection link on the profile of the person you want to reach. The Introductions page opens, shown in Figure 6.7.
Figure 6.7 Requesting an introduction to someone your connection knows.
- If you don't want to share your contact information with the person you want to reach, remove the check mark from the Include My Contact Information check box (selected by default). In general, it's a good idea to share contact information. To do so, enter your email address and phone number in the specified fields.
- From the Category drop-down list, select the reason for your introduction request. Options include career opportunity, consulting offer, new venture, job inquiry, expertise request, business deal, reference request, or get back in touch.
- In the Subject field, enter the subject of your request.
- In the first text box, enter your message to the person you want to be introduced to.
- In the second text box, enter a brief note to the person you want to make the referral (your 1st degree connection).
- Click the Send button to send your introduction request.
Your 1st degree connection receives your request and can choose to forward it to your target connection with comments or decline your request. If your request wasn't clear, your connection might ask you for more information.
See the following section, "Managing Introduction Requests," for more information about the next step in the process.