If you’re actively looking for a new job, chances are, you’re already on LinkedIn, updating your profile and looking for work opportunities.
But are you using LinkedIn as a powerful networking tool, that can allow you insider access to your dream companies and jobs that are never publicly posted?
What follows is a step-by-step guide on how to use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search to identify connections at your target companies that you didn’t even know you had.
LinkedIn Advanced Search for Fun and Profit
Advanced search can help you identify connections who are working at your target company, in your desired field, at your desired school or in your desired city or region, so that you can contact them and gather more information. It helps search through 1st degree connections (people you already know), which may be useful because sometimes, if you have been out of touch with somebody, you may not even realize that they are now in a region/company/field you’d like to know more about.
Even more importantly, allows you to search for 2nd degree connections – your contacts’ connections – which in turn allows you to ask for introductions to people you might not otherwise have access to.
So how does this work in practice? Let’s say you want to speak with someone who works at Morgan Stanley, to learn more about their corporate culture and potential job opportunities. And let’s say that you’re particularly interested in people located in New York or Washington, DC. In LinkedIn, you can click on “Advanced Search,” type in “Morgan Stanley” in the Company field, and put check marks for these locations. You also want to check the boxes only for 1st and 2nd degree connections, since people who are further removed will be harder to get introduced to.
When I fill in these fields, here is the first result I see:
Laura is a first-degree connection, which is great; I can ask her for info about Morgan Stanley directly! However, upon further examination, I see that this was a previous position she held. So she might be able to introduce me to former colleagues, but she’s not up to date on the current experience of working there. Thus, I can modify one of the search fields to show only people whose present position is at Morgan Stanley.
Now, let’s see if I have any second-degree connections that might be helpful. Wow, it turns out I have a ton of them! 1,565 of them, to be exact.
This means I can narrow my search. Maybe I decide I am only interested in people who are at the “Director” level, so I add that as a keyword, and I’m only interested in speaking with people in New York, so I get rid of Washington, DC as a location. What do I have now?
Now, my results are more targeted. Judy seems like a great person to talk to, but our mutual connection is Gia, whom I don’t know very well – I only met her once at a networking event a couple years ago. So maybe I’ll skip this one for now and see my other options.
Erin is connected to me through Juliette, who is a good friend and would be happy to help me out. However, Erin is in Campus Recruiting, which is not the department I’m most interested in. So I might ask for an intro anyway, because Erin will surely know people in other departments that interest me, or I might see who else has popped up in this search.
The third result is James. He’s a Managing Director and connected to me through Robert, a former colleague who would probably want to help me out. Jackpot! Now, I can reach out to Robert and ask if he’d be open to making an introduction.
Efficient networking with introductions
By asking for introductions to individuals within a company through someone you know, you greatly increase your chances of landing an interview. Thus, the time you spend finding 2nd degree connections at your target companies and asking for direct introductions can be well worth the effort.