LinkedIn’s “Introduction” feature is key to the service – it lets users reach out to potential customers, employers, employees, partners, and even investors.

This is a great way to turn a cold call into a warm introduction – through a mutually trusted individual.

And while it is possible to ask for introductions to both 2nd and 3rd level connections, it is easier with 2nd – because there is only one individual in the middle that knows both the introducer and the introducee.

LinkedIn opened up a search option to allow users to specify the relationship – and you should do that.

Let me take you through it…

Advanced Search

One of the points I make in both the book and my personal training sessions – get familiar with the “Advanced Search” screen.  This screen has options for each of the fields that you care about.

If you’re searching by name, include the first or last name in the appropriate box.

If you use the general “search” box at the top of the page, that will perform a generic keyword search instead of a search in the specific area you’re interested in.

Some numbers…

Let’s consider a search for “Smith”. When I search for “Smith” in the generic box (also called the Keywords box in the Advanced Search page, I get:

355,049 “Smith”s – Keyword based

When I use the Advanced Search page to specify that the “Smith” must be in the Last Name field:

230,235 “Smith”s – Last Name based

So clearly there are quite a few other ways “Smith” gets into a profile.  So let’s check – how about First Names of Smith?

3,091 “Smith”s – First Name based

Well, I have seen odd profiles that appear to have first and last names reversed – ahh yes there are 45 profiles in the system that list “Smith John” instead of “John Smith” (5,118).  This is a viewer-friendly system, and the expectation is that you see “Steve Tylock”, not “Tylock, Steve”  [Note to readers – be sure you have your first name in the box that says “First Name”, and last in the other.  For non-US countries, “Last” generally means your family name…]

But why stop there?  Checking the Companies field…

83,104 “Smith”s – Company based

And yes, for completeness, I’ve check the “Title” and “School”  field…

1,114 “Smith”s – Title based

28,638 “Smith”s – School based

Two thoughts – if “Smith” can be in a title, it can be anywhere, and yes – don’t forget the thought that common words will be mentioned in the names of schools and universities.

Restrict your results

The problem is not that you’ll miss the target that you’re looking for, it’s that you’ll get other results that will waste your time.

If you really only wanted those individuals that list “Smith College”, you’ll have to wade through all of the other results – unless you search for the specific term in the specific field.

Level 2 connections

Now back to the main theme – that you’re trying to find an introduction into a company – for one specific reason.

You can select “Relationship – 2nd (Degree) Connections” on the Advanced Search screen – and only see people that you can reach with just one connection to make the introduction.

This will give you the specific result you’d like, and you should be able to take immediate action.

If that search doesn’t give you good results, you can still relax that setting and search again for any relationship.

Wasting time

If you’re happy spending extra time with your searches – go ahead and ignore my advice here…

My goal has been to spread knowledge about how to make effective use of LinkedIn.

That’s why I’ve advertised “The LinkedIn Personal Trainer” as a time saver – if a user reads my book and gets going in 2 hours, I’m expecting that I’ve saved them 10 hours – hours they may have spent fumbling on their own.

And that’s cost effective in my book.

To your continued success,

Steven Tylock