By Jan Vermeiren, founder of Networking Coach

Frequently, we see people (including so-called “LinkedIn Experts”) believe that they need only a great LinkedIn Profile and then the rest will automatically and magically happen: new customers, a new job, new employees, investors, partners, experts, etc.

This is not what occurs in reality!

How many times do you use LinkedIn to find someone to offer them a job, hire them as a consultant or buy their products? Not often, right?

The problem for such people is failing to start from their goals; moreover most people fail to set goals at all.
To REALLY benefit from LinkedIn this needs to change. A passive presence needs to be transformed into a proactive approach. We help by giving you our 5 step basic strategy for success.

Step 1: Clearly Define a Specific Goal

Take a piece of paper (or whatever you use to write–Word, Notepad, your IPad). Write a goal that can relate to finding new customers, a new job, new employees, partners, suppliers, advertisers, sponsors, volunteers, experts…make it as specific as possible.

(This is the first step in our G.A.I.N. exercise - Goals Achieving via the Immense power of your Network). If you want to do this exercise with lots more tips to help specify your goal, download this exercise from the free “Video & Tools Library” at [http://www.how-to-really-use-linkedin.com]www.how-to-really-use-linkedin.com[/nurl]

Step 2: Think of the People Who Can Help You Reach Your Goal

Review your written goal and reflect on “who are the people in the best position to help me reach my goal?”

Expand beyond the people you already know! You can reach anyone in the world via 6 steps, maximum, so keep an open mind and list the people who are in the best position even if you don’t know them or even their name.

Step 3: Use LinkedIn’s “Advanced Search”

Log in to LinkedIn and go to “Advanced Search” (this is the word “Advanced” next to the search bar on top of your Home Page).

Use the parameters of step 1 and 2 in the fields available on this page. Looking at these fields might cause you to think of some more parameters for step 1 and 2 or to change them.

Now you can have two results: you either find the person or you do not. If you have found the person, go to the next step.

If you haven’t found this person, the reason might be that she/he doesn’t have a Profile on LinkedIn. However, there can be other reasons:

- They filed with a different function from the one you are looking for. For example, maybe you typed in Human Resources Director while this person is profiled as HR Manager. You might need to use different descriptions of a function for a successful search.

- You used other parameters in your search than those in their Profile. Experiment with the options by refining your search on the left-hand side (or change the sort options at the top of the search results). Perhaps they no longer hold the same position anymore (change the “current & past” option for Title) or moved to another company (change the “current & past” option for Company). Or maybe they listed themselves under a different industry from the one you chose.

Tip: Cast a wide net and fine-tune later on. When applying different parameters, start with the major ones first (e.g. country, function, company). If you find any results (big or small), add extra parameters (e.g. postal code, industry, language, relationship). This way you can see the effect of some of the parameters you are using.

Step 4: Find People Who Can Help You

If you have too many or too few results of your search, change your parameters on the left hand side.
Then choose the most interesting Profile and look whom you know in common. You can do this by clicking on “x shared connections” in the result list (only for 2nd degree connections) or you can click on someone’s name to read their Profile first and then look at whom you have in common on the right hand side (you have to scroll down).

If the Profile you are looking at is not what you want, or you are looking for more people, repeat this step.

Remark: if you don’t find many 2nd degree connections (those are the ones you are looking for!), that probably means you don’t have a big enough LinkedIn network yet or don’t have the right LinkedIn network yet. Use the tools LinkedIn provides you with under Contacts/Add Connections to quickly build your network.

Step 5: Get Introduced To People Who Can Help You

Once you have found the people who can help you reach your goal and your mutual connections, it is time to leave LinkedIn to ask for an introduction.

Although you can also use the “Get introduced through” option on LinkedIn, we don’t recommend using it because you don’t know how well they know each other.

They might have once met at a conference or even just connected with each other without knowing each other personally. If you ask for an introduction via the “Get introduced through” option, you might wait for a very long time for a reaction, if you get one at all!

Tip: if you insist on using the “Get introduced through” option, you should know that both the person who introduces you as well as the one being introduced can read both messages! Most people are unaware of this and write something (too) personal in the message to the person who will introduce them. For example: let’s assume you want to be introduced to the Marketing Manager of Microsoft and you notice that a friend from university is connected to both of you. In your message accompanying your request to be introduced, you mention some of your “extra-curricular” (going out, drinking, etc.) activities because that’s what you have in common. However, your first impression to the Marketing Manager, who can also read those words, will (probably) be your last one!

What’s the alternative to the “Get introduced through” function?

Pick up the phone, explain your goal to your mutual connection, and ask how well they know the person you want to reach. If they don’t know them well enough, thank them for their time.

If they do know them and want to help you, ask them to connect you by introducing you to each other via a NORMAL EMAIL (not via LinkedIn). We call this the Magic Mail. Why? Because the results can be magical!

Let us clarify this by showing you the difference between using the “Get Introduced Through” function and an email outside LinkedIn.

If you use the “Get Introduced Through” option, YOU need to write a message that can be forwarded by your contact. This is a cold message that is warmed up a bit by your contact. But it is still you, a stranger, who wrote the message.

On the other hand, when the person you want to reach on LinkedIn, receives an email from your mutual contact, someone they already KNOW, LIKE and TRUST to a certain level, they will be much more open to the message. At the least this person will be more open for a conversation with you; at best you are already “presold” by your mutual contact!


Whomever you are looking for: a new customer, employee, employer, partner, supplier, investor, expert or anyone else who can help you reach your goals: use this 5 step basic strategy to find them on LinkedIn.

Many more tips like 10 extra ways to find the right people... and the brand new LinkedIn Strategy Matrix for Organizations, can be found in the second edition of the international bestseller “How to REALLY use LinkedIn”.

Download your copy for FREE.

About The Author

Jan Vermeiren is the founder of Networking Coach, the first LinkedIn Certified Training Institute in the world. An international speaker, Jan is the author of two bestsellers—Let’s Connect! and How to REALLY use LinkedIn. He is also a guest lecturer in several international MBA programmes.