LinkedIn Connections: Using LinkedIn to Network for a Specific Job

By Emily Seamone

LinkedIn Networking

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You probably have heard that networking is the best method for landing jobs. In fact, depending on the source, it’s estimated that 60 to 90% of jobs are secured through connections that result in referrals or recommendations. LinkedIn is a fantastic resource to help you with this endeavor. In fact, one of the best features of LinkedIn is being able to identify someone you might know at an organization, particularly one that you are targeting or has an open position. Do you have a first-degree connection you can reach out to directly? Or a second-degree connection that can introduce you to one? Is there an alum who attended one of the schools you went to? Or a recruiter who works at the company?

Reaching Out for Informational Interviews

Informational interviews—when one talks with a professional about their career and organization—are one of the best ways to network. They are particularly effective if they’re done before you apply to a specific posting. Thus, if you have target companies in mind, it is beneficial to start identifying people whom you can talk to at these organizations right away before you submit an application. Then, after you do apply for a position, you can reach out to this person with a message similar to this one:

Dear Joe Smith:

Thanks again for talking with me last month. I came across the Research Analyst position at Your Company, and I submitted my application immediately. This role is a great fit with my background in research, data visualization, and analytics. Please let me know if there is any other way I can express my strong interest in this role and your organization.

Greta Graduate

Reaching Out to First-Degree Connections

In addition to people you have conducted informational interviews with, you can use LinkedIn to determine if you have first-degree connections who work at a specific organization that could be helpful to you. If not, you can search for second-degree connections and then ask the person you both know to introduce you. How you reach out to your first-degree connection may depend on your relationship. If you know the person well, you may feel comfortable being more direct, such as in this sample message:

Dear Jane Smith:

I’m very interested in a potential opportunity at Your Company and recalled that you currently work there. Would you be willing to chat with me for 15 minutes or so and share your experience at the organization? I would be so grateful for your time.

Garrett Graduate

Connecting with Hiring Managers

If you do not have a first-degree connection (or second-degree connection), your next best bet is to reach out to someone who might be the hiring manager or another person who might work in the same department as the posted position. First, notice if the LinkedIn job details show who posted the job. This person is often either a hiring manager, someone in the department, or a recruiter. If this information is not available, you can conduct a search on LinkedIn based on the title or career area (perhaps in the People tab of the Company’s LinkedIn page) to find the right person. You could also try this search via your favorite search engine and see if you can identify any contact information. Smaller organizations may even list their employees and contact information on their website in a staff directory. There are also ways to try to figure out an individual’s email.

Once you have a way to contact the hiring manager or employee working in the same department, you can reach out with the following type of message:

Dear Joe Smith:

I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Greta Graduate, and I recently applied for the Research Analyst position at Your Company, a role for which I am a great fit. I am graduating with a Master’s degree in Data Science and have experience in research and data analysis. I’ve designed research studies, conducted analyses of quantitative and qualitative data, and written engaging reports of the results. I am sure this posting generated a large response, thus I wanted to reach out to express my strong interest in this position and working at Your Company. I welcome the opportunity to speak with you further about how I can apply my skills and experience to help your organization reach its goals.

Greta Graduate

Note that the purpose of this message is basically to introduce yourself and reinforce your interest and enthusiasm for the position. You may not hear back from this person, as often people involved in a search refrain from communicating with potential candidates unless they are inviting them for an interview. However, some job seekers have been contacted for interviews after sending such a note. Was it because they were already on the list or because this message grabbed the hiring manager’s attention?

Contacting Recruiters

Finally, you could reach out to recruiters after you apply for a position. If a recruiter posted the position on LinkedIn, reach out to that individual. In lieu of that information, search for recruiters at that company by typing in the organization’s name and the word “recruiter” in the LinkedIn general search box or just the word “recruiter” in the People tab on the Company’s LinkedIn page. If there are several recruiters, identify the one that seems to be working with the department or in the career area of interest.

Then send a message similar to this one:

Dear Susan Smith:

My name is Garrett Graduate. I saw your job posting on LinkedIn and thought I would introduce myself to you. I am currently a doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center, and I will be graduating soon. I have a background in communications, writing, and research. I am very interested in speaking with you about the current Communications Manager position in your organization, and would like to schedule a time for a conversation if possible. I can be reached at 212-555-5555, or feel free to contact me at

I look forward to hearing from you.

Garrett Graduate

Further Resources

Using LinkedIn to reach out to first-degree connections, hiring managers, other professionals who work in the same department, and/or recruiters can help your job applications get noticed. There will be a greater chance that people will take a closer look at your application, recognize the strong match between your qualifications and the role, and contact you for an interview.

For more information about LinkedIn, view our webinars LinkedIn 101: Getting to Know the Basics, Stand Out Online: Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile, and Putting LinkedIn to Work: Job Searching, Networking, and Personal Branding.