Every job-seeker knows the stat: 70% of jobs are filled through networking. But what if the job you want is hired for by people you don’t know? Does that mean you’re just out of luck 70% of the time?
While that might have been true 20 years ago, in the age of the Internet and social networks, no one is truly beyond your reach today. And, in fact, you don’t even need to be a highly extroverted mover-and-shaker to network with the right people. If you want to know how to contact someone online or how to find any email address, you just need to follow these five simple steps:
[bctt tweet="How to #GetinTouch with Anyone - in 5 simple steps, by @schifeling" username="StartupInst"]
1) Import Your Address Book
While there are many tools you can use to connect with the perfect person, by far the most useful is LinkedIn. After all, it’s the only basically complete database of all the world’s professionals (400 million and counting). There’s a pretty darn good chance your future boss is already there, just waiting to be found.
The only catch is that, in order to find her, you’ll need to have visibility into the hidden world of connections that link the two of you. Which means you need to import your address book into LinkedIn so you can find all the connections you have in common.[bctt tweet="There's a pretty good chance your future boss is on #LinkedIn, waiting to be found - @schifeling" username="StartupInst"]
2) Identify Your Ideal Contact
Okay, now that your LinkedIn engine is revved up, it’s time to point it in the right direction. Which means figuring out who, exactly, you want to contact.
Let’s say that your dream job is to become a marketing manager at Slack. In that case, the person who controls your career destiny is most likely the marketing director there, since that’s one level higher—a.k.a. the hiring manager. And so you can run an advanced LinkedIn search (Company = Slack, Title = Marketing Director) to find the exact right person.[bctt tweet="Use #LinkedIn's advanced search feature to find + connect w/ the right hiring manager - @schifeling" username="StartupInst"]
3) Get a Second-Degree Introduction
With an ideal contact in mind, now the fun really begins: finding a way to get in touch with her. While there are several different approaches, let’s start with the highest percentage shot—getting a warm intro. After all, when you have a mutual connection introduce you, it’s much harder for this new contact to turn you down than if you just reach out cold.
To get a warm intro, see if LinkedIn lists your contact as a second-degree connection. If so, you’ll also see a link below the person’s name that mentions “shared connections.” Just click this link to get a list of people you know in common and then have a mutual friend make the introduction. Voila—instant social proof!
[bctt tweet="Your best shot of making a meaningful connection is w/ a warm intro, says @schifeling" username="StartupInst"]
4) Get an Alumni Intro
While a mutual connection is a strong bond, don’t discount the power of a shared alma mater. Because nothing glues people together like standing together in the cold for hours tailgating before a big game.
That said, even if your ideal contact didn’t graduate from your school, chances are someone else at her organization did. To find out who, check out LinkedIn’s Alumni Tool for a full list of every single alum on the site. And then just do a quick search for your dream company.
Once you find a fellow Wolverine, Trojan, or Banana Slug on the inside, grab their email address from your alumni directory and ask them if they wouldn’t mind introing you to your preferred contact.[bctt tweet="Don't discount the power of a shared #almamater when #networking, says @schifeling " username="StartupInst"]
5) Go Straight to the Source
But what if your ideal contact is an elusive hermit? She’s not connected to anyone, her organization is tiny so there are no alumni there, and you’re feeling stuck.
Fear not—there’s always one final option: Cut out the 2nd degree and alumni middlemen and go straight to the contact. Here’s how:
- Guess her email address by going to Email Hunter and inputting her company’s domain (e.g., slack-corp.com). If the recommended format is FirstInitial.LastName, then you’ll likely find success for Jane Doe at Slack with firstname.lastname@example.org
- If the email bounces back, try other common formats (FirstName.LastName), which you can test with Email Hunter’s Verifier tool
- Rapportive is another great tool for finding email addresses. Install this plugin for Gmail and, if you guess her email address correctly, her name and headshot will populate in your Gmail sidebar so that you can confirm your email is going to the right person.
- If all else fails, check out which LinkedIn groups your contact belongs to. By joining one of these groups, you’ll be able to send her a direct message on LinkedIn—the only catch is that you’ll have to wait four days after signing up to do so
[bctt tweet="Want to find someone's email address? Try @EmailHunter / #Rapportive, says @schifeling" username="StartupInst"]
Failure Is Not an Option
There it is: a step-by-step process to get in touch with anyone, no matter how far removed they may seem. In a world where nearly ¾ of all jobs are going to savvy networkers, there’s no reason to ever give up on a dream job. The person hiring for that job is now just a few clicks away—and well within your reach.
Jeremy Schifeling is the Founder and CEO of Break into Tech, a resource site for anyone looking to launch a tech career. He previously worked at LinkedIn and has put together a free LinkedIn Profile Checklist for readers of The Whiteboard.