When you search for a job using social media, it is almost inevitable that you will make contacts and even introductions on LinkedIn. Follow these guidelines when crafting your message to your target hiring managers:
Lead with something in common or how you found them. A common group, school, or interest is a great way to show that you’ve done your homework and helps hiring managers put their guard down. Pending that, context also helps open them up. For example, tell them you found them when researching your interest in XYZ Company.
Respect their time by getting to the point fast. If you think you’re a fit for the job, say, “I think I’m a fit.” You’re looking to explore the possibility of employment, so say so. There’s no shame in admitting that.
Show your value. This introduction may be your first impression, so do what you need to do to separate yourself from the crowd within the structure of your personal brand. Repurpose your value statement based on all the research you’ve done on the needs of the company and the hiring manager.
Establish credibility. Use social proof, such as recommendations, blog traffic, and other evidence, that shows people respect you. Doing so reduces perceived risk about you as a candidate. How so? Well, if a hiring manager sees that other people are willing to vouch for you, then he knows that you must be all right.
Talk about how you can help them solve their problems or reach their goals. Remember that the job search is about the employer, not about you. The company has many choices about who it can hire, and you have lots of competition. The company is ultimately going to hire the person who seems like he’ll benefit the company the most.
Invite them to learn more about you before deciding. Take some of the pressure off by inviting hiring managers to see your blog, an online résumé that’s different from your LinkedIn profile, or other link. Inviting them to learn more about you also helps establish credibility.
End with a request to move the conversation offline. Ask for a meeting and put a time limit around it. Be sure to be professionally assertive, not pushy or needy. You can take the conversation offline by meeting for coffee or meeting at the hiring manager’s office. For out-of-towners, you can simply request a phone call.