(Second of three parts)
Whether set up as a website prelude, chat channel or notice board, LinkedIn company profiles enable firm project managers or principals to link up with and learn more about other firms they might be interested in forming strategic alliances, proposal teams or development partnerships with, to see if they’d be a good fit.
LinkedIn’s new “Advanced Search” option (see below) lets you track down by job title the specific staff members of those companies you want to connect with, that would have the authority to build the team with you.
For these and other purposes, LinkedIn has a database of connections at your fingerclicks, and a search engine for direct linkage to your desired contacts — which antiquates the Rolodex, that spinaround shuffledeck of card chaos that took up valuable desk space and took you weeks to slog through a thicket of names and numbers from 10 or 20 years ago to find the contact that was hiding from you.
LinkedIn also puts to rest (and to shame) that ’60s connect-and-followup method, as sung by George Harrison:
Carve your number on my wall
And maybe you will get a call
From me, if I needed someone.
If you need someone now, just type in the name in the Search bar at the top of your LinkedIn home page, click the magnifier icon, and presto, an instant roster of John Smiths or whomever you were tracking.
If you need someone by title for recruitment, consultant hiring, design-build teaming or general networking purposes, “Advanced Search is the coolest part of LinkedIn,” said Patrick O’Malley at the May 22 Boston Society of Architects Marketing/PR Wizards meeting. “It allows you to search for people by anything, not just by name — for instance, Vice President of Finance or CFO. Your second-level connections, or friends of friends, will show that so-and-so was vice president of finance and you know him through a first-level connection.”
“LinkedIn is a useful way to make a cold call warm, through a common bond, or through someone you’ve worked together with,” added Julia Corbett Tanen.
To do an Advanced Search, just click “Advanced” at the right of the magnifier, and the Advanced People Search page will come up (click pic for full page):
Then you can type in the title of your desired connection (and the company that person works for, if desired), click Search, and up come folks with that title and company:
At the bottom of each listing is the number of 1st-degree LinkedIn connections you share with that person, for the possibility of being introduced to those title-holders through your direct contacts. Beside each name is the degree of your connection to that person, if any.
However, 3rd-degree connections appear by the person’s first name and last initial only, unless you’re willing to shell out for a LinkedIn Premium account for $24.95/month (Business plan), $39.95/month (Business Plus plan) or $74.95/month (Executive plan). Patrick showed us how to ferret out that last name for free:
- Open the 3rd-degree connection profile of the person you wish to contact.
- Open a separate Google Images window on your website browser.
- Drag the 3rd-degree connection’s profile photo into the Google Images search bar.
- Click the magnifier icon beside the bar.
- Click “Search by Image.”
- Up will pop a list of links with that photo, some likely containing the connection’s last name.
Something to remember about all LinkedIn connections: “Be careful,” said Patrick. “Too often people link in with people they don’t really know or know well. Connect with people you really know and trust, but not with anyone and everyone.”
“Start with the human connection,” said Julia. “Search through people’s profiles and create something they’ll instantly bond with. Exchange messages back and forth before you can say, ‘Let’s have coffee.’ I read profiles in depth, and I look at who recommended them.” She recommends LinkedIn school alumni/ae group pages as safe, trusted ways to connect with individuals who already have something in common with you.
Above all, a LinkedIn connection means little without human substance behind it. Just because someone is LinkedIn with you doesn’t mean s/he’ll remember you later without regular contact with that person over time, in the form of e-mailing articles of interest, e-mail or phone conversations, coffee meetings, offers to help that person, etc. If you connect on LinkedIn but then fall out of touch with someone, that person may end up being like just another name and photo on an overstuffed Rolodex, thus of little or no value to your business or job search goals.
So LinkIn, and KeepInTouch!
— Todd Larson
Next post: LinkedIn #3: Recommendations, endorsements