Trying to get your career off the ground, or changing careers altogether? Connecting with established leaders in your target field can certainly put you on the right path.Thanks to technology we all have access to the biggest rolodex in the world—social media. Managers, directors and CEOs are all at our fingertips, and in order to tap into network, all that’s needed is simple strategy for introducing yourself.

Fresh out of university, a friend-of-a-friend of mine, we’ll call him Billy, was able to set up coffee meetings with several prominent business leaders simply by reaching out to them on LinkedIn. Of course, it is strongly recommended NOT to spam busy CEOs with a boilerplate message because it’ll paint you as rather lazy and inauthentic.

So how do you reach out to busy VIPs in a way that resonates with them, and elicits a favorable response? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Target professionals in your community
If you have ties with a specific community, why not target members of that community who’ve made an impact in your desired industry and who can potentially emphasize with you more than others?

2. Do your research
Make a list of all of the people you’d love to meet, research their career paths and achievements. From this list, narrow it down to a few who you feel are most in a position to help you towards your goals

3. Clearly state your goals and how they can help
Speaking of goals, when crafting your message, be sure to clearly state your career goals, how you think you can get there, and how they can help. Believe it or not, this doesn’t have to sound pushy, in fact, you’ll actually save these professionals time because now they have an idea of what advice they can pull from their experiences and pass on to you.

4. Make them a “soft referral”
When talking with friends, family, colleagues and peers, ask if they can recommend anybody for you to reach out to. Your peers don’t necessarily have to know them personally, they could have just heard about them through their reputation and work. It’s always great to mention in the note that it was recommended by others to reach out to them.

5. Go after alumni
If you’re not sure where to start, look up others who went to the same school and program as you, chances are, they’d be thrilled to lend a hand – by helping you, they help continue the school’s legacy.

6. Compliment and acknowledged their accomplishments
No one likes a suck-up, but mentioning and praising specific accomplishments (perhaps that you’d one day like to emulate), you show that you’ve studied their career path and are paying homage to their hard work, talent and dedication.

7. Be humble
No one likes a show-off either, but it doesn’t hurt to, in a few words, let your target individual know what you’ve done so far to get you closer to your goals. This shows your own hard work, talent and dedication.


Billy followed all of these rules, and crafted a concise (100 to 200 words), personalized message for each of the people he reached out to, and you know what? Every single person agreed to a coffee date, and one resulted in a lucrative job offer.

There are many people who either balk at the idea of approaching strangers, even on social media, or are too nervous to. However, as we see time and time again, those who are willing to put themselves out there, and take risks, are usually the ones who are rewarded. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?