Many candidates that I speak with wonder how to better leverage their LinkedIn connections to assist their job search. When you get to the point in your career where you’ve amassed several hundred connections, there’s a good chance that your next opportunity lives within that network.
We know that LinkedIn is the most powerful tool you can use for an effective job search but many folks wonder … how do you get started with not just accessing those connections, but reaching out effectively?
You’re just 3 steps away from quickly accessing—and successfully connecting with—your 200, 500, or 1000+ connections for your next role. Here’s how!
Step One: Download Contacts
LinkedIn makes it (relatively) easy to quickly create your own sales cadence to start reaching out and networking your way to a new job. The trick? Download your contacts into a .csv and then convert that to a spreadsheet. Notion, Excel, Google—it doesn’t matter what vehicle you use to drive your contacts into your own hands. The names, titles, and emails are your property and good networking hygiene includes yearly downloads to ensure that you, not LinkedIn, retain your critical contacts.
In addition to gathering your connections’ contact information, this download also grabs the date you connected, giving you the ability to sort your list of contacts and reach out to folks you met with years ago first or last, depending on your reach out strategy.
Here’s how to get your list:
- Under the Me drop down on the right hand side of the navigation bar in LinkedIn, select “Settings & Privacy”
- Under Settings, select the “Data privacy.”
- Under How LinkedIn uses your data, select “Get a copy of your data.”
- Under Export your data, select “Connections” within the header of “Want something in particular?”
- Select Request Archive
- Once your archive is ready, you’ll receive an email entitled: “Your LinkedIn data archive is ready!” You can click on the link, download the .csv file to your Google Drive or Excel and you’re ready to start sorting by connection date and reaching out. Your link to download your file will expire—so take care to download your data promptly.
Step Two: Write Your Reach Out
There are many free tools available to help ramp up and organize your job search. Avid readers of my posts know of my affinity of Notion but whatever tool you use (Google Docs, One Note, MS Word), hop over to that tool and create a simple, straightforward template you that you can use and modify accordingly for your reach-outs. Here’s a sample:
Hi Janet, hope you’ve had a good week! We worked together back in the day at Aon and so enjoyed that time and getting to know you. I know there has been a lot going on lately, but if you are up for it, I would love to connect to learn more about what you are doing.
Thanks so much, and take care.
Step Three: Create a Calendar
Few things kill the mood in connecting more than the whole back-and-forth with calendar comparisons. Using a free calendar tool such as ZCal or Calendly can streamline the whole process. You can simply connect one of these tools to your personal calendar and block out time on your calendar to bake in networking times to your weekly routine.
Putting forth the effort to block time on your calendar commits you to making effective networking part of your weekly routine. If you’re in a job search, try and select specific times that you’re available as opposed to simply presenting large blocks of available time which could be perceived negatively.
Carving out time on your selected calendar tool also streamlines the view of your availability to your audience demonstrating the energy, activity, and busy-ness that you have going on in your search.
Connecting—and ultimately showing some vulnerability—can feel awkward, scary, and like a step that you might not feel like making. Connecting during an unexpected job search is doubly vulnerable and can even feel paralyzing with how to even start the conversation without sounding like you’re pleading for a job. While these 3 steps can help you safely and confidently navigate networking your way to a better (or new!) opportunity—joining the conversation and presenting the best version of yourself can feel like something else entirely.
My next article will walk through that very process…the actual connecting. Meanwhile, our team at Elevation Talent Group is always here to support you along every step of your career journey. Reach out—we’d love to connect!