LinkedIn’s Companies‘ feature is a treasure trove of information if you’re searching for people with whom to connect. It’s of more value if you have a reason to connect with said people, namely they’re on your company target list (but this is a whole article in itself).
Many job seekers I speak with are unaware that the Companies feature exists. This might have to do with the fact that the feature isn’t highlighted as an icon to the right of Search. In addition, they don’t have a company target list. I strongly suggest they create one consisting of 15-20 companies.
Let’s look at how to find people at your desired companies
For our purpose we’ll assume you have an idea of who you need to find, such as the people on your company target list.
As stated above, the Companies feature is not listed on the toolbar. At one time, this feature was highlighted along with other features, but LinkedIn decided to “hide” it along with Posts, Groups, Schools, Events, and Courses.
To find the button for Companies, place your cursor pointer in Search and left click. You’ll see the drop-down shown below. When I click Companies LinkedIn shows 58,000.000 companies that have a company page.
You can simply type in Search the name of the company. The company for which I’ll search is Avid, a mid-sized company in my area. I know someone who works there, Debra, but not too well. My goal is to connect with a decision maker/s in the marketing department.
I could click People to find the decision maker/s, but I want more options, so I’ll click the number of employees who work there, 1,614. This will give me access to All Filters (see below).
In All Filters I select 2nd degree connections, the Greater Boston Area, and I type in Keywords “manager, marketing.” This gives me three people from which to choose. Rachel and Maria are two people who seem like ones to contact, so I visit their profiles.
Reading their profiles carefully, I look for commonalities between myself and them. Rachel and I went to the same university, and Maria and I have a mutual connection who will gladly facilitate an introduction.
To connect or not connect
You might be wondering why I want to connect with people on my target company list. Fair question. The idea is to penetrate the Hidden Job Market. In other words, get known by people at my desired companies before jobs are listed. Once jobs are listed it’s often too late. I’m building my foundation, if you will.
At this point I’m trying to build my foundation at Avid, as it’s a company high on my list of target companies. I figure there’s a 50/50 chance of one of the two connecting with me. Rachel would be my first choice because she’s managing content writers, which is my area of expertise.
But Maria would also be a bonus connection. Once I connect with Maria, chances are good I’ll be able to connect with Rachel. In both cases I won’t simply send a default invite. No, I’ll have to write a sincere, thoughtful message to both women.
Hint: There’s no reason for either women to connect with me simply because I’m interested in the company for which they work. I’ll have to write a compelling invite message that will entice them to connect with me.
First smother them with kindness
I can take the following steps to impress my possible connections at one of my dream companies. LinkedIn only allows 300 characters* for an invite, so I’ll have I’m limited in terms of the tactics I can use below.
1. I could show Maria and Rachel that I’m simply not connecting with them for the heck of it. I’ll show them that I’ve read their profiles and, of course, mention our commonalities.
2. If either of Maria’s and Rachel’s teams are responsible for doing something notable, I could mention that in my invite. People like to be complimented regardless of what they say. I won’t use shallow platitudes; I’ll point out facts showing I’ve done my research.
3. I could demonstrate that I’ve done my research on Avid and talk highly of it. People also like to know that others admire the employer for which the work. If they don’t, they’re not made long for their position.
I’ll start with the long shot first. This would be Rachel. She and I don’t have a strong common connection. Debra, who’s my first degree connection displayed on the front page of the Avid’s LinkedIn page, is not one of Rachel’s first degree connections. I’ll go with the cold invite.
Reminder: LinkedIn allows 300 characters for an invite. This is why you might want to follow up with an email.
I hope this connection request finds you well. I’ve always considered Avid to be a great organization that helps directors produce great movies, one of which for me is Ocean 8.
I notice you and I went to UMass Amherst. Were you as excited as I to see them win the Hockey National Championship?
The invite to Maria will most likely be more successful because we have a strong common connection. When I ask our common connection, Brenda, if I can mention her as a reference, she gladly agrees. She even offers to write an email to Maria as an introduction. I’ll take her up on it if my invite doesn’t come to fruition.
You and I are both connected with Brenda (last name). I know her from our days in marketing, where I was a MarCom writer and she was in public relations at Company ABC. She strongly suggested that I invite you to my network. She believes I would be a strong attribute to your team.
I’ve described how to write an invite from a basic account. If you have LinkedIn’s Career premium account, you can send an Inmail message containing 2,000 characters*. People have varying reactions to Inmail; some appreciate them while others aren’t fond of them.
How you choose to send invites to people on your target companies list is up to you. You should make it a goal to send four to five invites a week, and don’t be afraid to send multiple invites to a target company.
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