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As a self-employed freelancer, I find Linked-In to be a wonderful resource.
1. I search the STC Directory for anyone with that company name in their email address. If I find someone, of course I contact them first.
2. I look up the company in Linked-In and see if I know anyone there (1st degree contact) or if I have a link to anyone there (or anyone who has worked there recently).
3. If I have any contacts who look potentially useful, and if they've checked "Looking for Work" or whatever it is as one of their interests, I ask for an introduction.
4. If they accept, I then ask them whatever I think they can help with -- the name of the doc manager, of course, or whatever else is germane.
5. If they come through with a name and contact info, I then follow that up.
Without Linked-In, I'd have to send email to one of the management team listed on the company web site, and they're undoubtedly inundated with email all the time. Linked-In gives me a chance to discover who's in the doc department (if there is one) or who in-house is in charge of documentation.
I've had great results with this method.
OH -- major warning: Headhunters have now gotten themselves onto people's contact lists. Linked-In for them is like shooting fish in a barrel. Example: I send a request to my friend X, who passes it on to Headhunter Y (who is linked to my target of interest).
Headhunter Y refuses to pass it on and writes in an email: "I don't think this is a good fit. But -- hey -- if you think my company could help, send me your resume!"
If a headhunter you know asks to link to you, please don't.
To get back to my example, my friend X should never have accepted Headhunter Y's request to connect. This tactic by the headhunters utterly destroys Linked-In's integrity. I've emailed them (LI) about it but never heard back.
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