Not a week goes by that someone, or a number of people, ask me to connect them with someone else in the pursuit of finding a job. I don’t mind connecting people at all. In fact, I believe it is part of what we are supposed to do to help each other. However, the number of times that someone doesn’t do anything but ask me to make the connection for them is amazing. Asking someone to simply refer you or pass along a resume is only part of getting connected. Without asking them to ‘help them help you’ see the connection through means that you are taking on a high risk that nothing will ever happen.
Here are a few ways to get more out of your Inside Connections™. Consider these pointers on how you can help yourself in helping others help you:
- Don’t ask someone over email to connect you to someone on LinkedIn or another social media. If you do this you are asking another person to stop what they are doing, go to another application and then start from scratch for you. If you want help on LinkedIn then make the request for help on LinkedIn. The same with Facebook or any other social graph.
- Always have a resume attached. The number of times that I have to go back and ask for a resume or a profile stuns me. Instead, make it easy on the person helping you by having your resume or profile attached at the time of the request and each time after.
- Always have a short intro paragraph attached and ready to go. When making the request for a referral, go ahead and write the intro paragraph for the person who is going to make the referral for you. Write it as if it was coming from them so all they have to do is edit a bit and then forward it along. In this paragraph, bring forth the accomplishments and objectives that you can fit in that will catch the person’s attention. You may find that even writing the whole intro note would be beneficial to ensure that someone only has to forward it on.
- Don’t assume that they know each other that well. When asking someone to make an intro, make the assumption that they aren’t really that good of a connection. A lot of times on LinkedIn even those first level connections aren’t people that someone keeps up with constantly so it is always a little awkward. The easier you can make the connection for the person making the referral the better. For example, include another common person’s name to reference. e.g., “Hey Paul, I am referring Mary to you. Mary knows Joe so you all have him in common.”
- Think like someone who was asking you for the help. If you step back from each interaction and ask yourself if someone was asking you for the help, what would you want from them to make it easier Just asking for the help and expecting someone else to do the prep work and the follow through isn’t enough.
- Be sure and close the circle with a thank you. After the connection is made, be sure and loop back and thank the person who made the connection for you. If you land a job through the connection then go back and thank them again. Nothing reinforces the right behavior more than positive reinforcement. For you and others who will come along, keep the positives going.