I am a big believer in connecting with the kind of people who can help your career in the real world and particularly on LinkedIn. There is a way for you to be able to see more of the people you need to connect with, without having a pre-existing direct or indirect connection. Just as important, you don’t need to pay for a premium account unless you have another reason for having one.

There are three levels of connections within LinkedIn.

First-degree connections are people you are directly connected with whom you can communicate directly through email. They either sent you a request to connect which you accepted or they accepted your request to connect.

Second-degree are people who are connected with people that you are connected with. Think of them as your friend’s friend.

Third-degree connections are people who are connected with your connections OR people who are FOLLOWING an organization you are following. Think of football teams or software user groups.

This is how it works. When you are looking for a person with a specific title, who works for a particular company on LinkedIn, you need to have some connection to the heretofore unidentified individual. There are two constants that most people on LinkedIn have in common. First, they work for the company that you want to target. Second, they likely graduated from a university or college. By following a company or companies you are targeting AND following universities, colleges, and junior colleges as well as trade schools near the company you are targeting, you will see an exponentially larger group of the target company’s employees.

Most or all of the employees of any company you are targeting will be exposed to you as Third-degree connections.

By being exposed to people at the Second and Third degree you can now send them requests to connect at the first degree.

More importantly, you now have the names and titles of everyone you need to know at your target company which, if you are bold enough allows you to contact them by phone or email with or without the assistance of LinkedIn.

You now know one of the most powerful secrets to crack LinkedIn wide open. If you need help or want to know more about LinkedIn contact me at sean@jacksonmccarthy.com.