When it comes to job searching, it’s all about who you know — and who they know. With the growth of LinkedIn and other social media platforms, second and even third degree contacts can be just as valuable as your immediate connections. The only question is, how do you leverage those relationships to form new connections without coming across as mercenary?
Tips to keep in mind when asking for an introduction
Build a relationship
It probably feels a lot easier to ask a close friend or family member for an introduction than it does someone you worked with briefly a few years ago, and for good reason. The closer your relationship is with someone, the easier it is to ask for favors. That doesn’t mean you need to spend months buttering someone up before asking for an introduction, but do be aware that somebody you’ve met once may not be particularly inclined to pass along your details, especially if you haven’t interacted since.
Don’t ask for too many favors
If you only ever contact someone when you need something from them, don’t be surprised if they stop responding to your messages. Choose your requests wisely — asking for one or two connections to high priority contacts is a much better strategy than half a dozen scattershot requests.
Make sure the contact has a relatively good relationship with the contact you want an introduction to!
Don't assume that just because someone is connected to someone on LinkedIn, that they're close or would be able to connect you. Look for signs that they actually have a relationship - for example, have they worked together in the same team? Did they go to the same college? Is there any LinkedIn activity between them, including things like tags, posts and comments? These are useful heuristics to figure out if the person you're reaching out to is actually in a position to connect you!
Give some context
Letting someone know why you’re asking for an introduction makes it a lot easier for them to facilitate it — and a lot more likely that they’ll be willing to. Make sure to include 1-2 lines about who you are and why you want to be introduced; for example, if you’re job searching and that person works at a company you’ve had your eye on.
This one’s obvious — if you’re asking for a favor, you need to be polite and respectful of other peoples’ time. Even a brief line saying something like, “I understand if you’re too busy” or “if you feel comfortable” can go a long way toward not coming across as pushy.
Make it easy for them
Respecting peoples’ time also means asking for as little of it as possible. The easier you can make your request, the better, so why not draft an introductory email yourself and include it with your request? That way, even if your contact is busy, all they have to do is forward your message along to the appropriate person.
Ready to put these tips into action? Keep scrolling for word for word templates you can copy and paste when asking for an introduction.