How I used LinkedIn to get Interviews and Land Offers

Hey Guys,

Been using this site for a while now and figured it would be beneficial for me to give back a bit. For starters, I thought I would detail my experiences using linkedin and cold emails to land a summer offer.

Coming from a semi-target undergrad b-school, I had my hands full. Nonetheless, it all worked out for the best and I'll be at a top tier BB (GS/MS/JPM) this summer for IBD.

  • I first decided to set aside a huge chunk of time to look up possible contacts.
  • Hours upon hours I searched the web/linkedin/google/etc

Where to begin...

Create an excel sheet / access table / word document and start writing down every bank, consulting firm, investment firm you know of or wouldn't mind working for. I wrote down most BB and MM banks since IBD was target. After your list is complete, I went through my list and would type "School Name + Firm Name + LinkedIn" into google. Coming from a semi-target I would only get a handful or so people, which was manageable. I would then change my college to my high school in the search (or hometown, etc). I would open each person's page and figure out if they were relevant to my job search and if we had any "small world" type connections to talk about if we ever spoke. I kept track of everyone and eventually had a list of 200 hundred people at 50 or so banks. If you feel uncomfortable about these individuals seeing that you viewed their profile make yourself invisible in the settings or disable cookies and if you click on the linkedin in google you will not be signed in.

Also, I joined as many relevant groups on linkedin as I could, and would spend the time to go through the entire members list.

With my list complete, I used WSO to find the correct email formats for these people and after finding each individuals email, I began my cold emailing. I created a very generic email that all I needed to do was change the firm's name and the division I was interested in (IBD/S&T/PE/IM/Consulting/etc/). For example...

Dear Mr./Mrs. XXXXXXX (even if they graduated last year - always show respect),

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is XXXXXXX, a junior finance major at XXXXX and have developed an interest in XXXXXXXX. I was wondering if you had some time to speak on the phone within the next few weeks to discuss your experiences in XXXXXXX and any suggestions you may have as I approach this year's recruiting season. I have attached my resume for context and look forward to speaking with you soon.

I would sometimes make it a little more customized if they were some BSD, but also made sure to include my resume to show them that I was worth their time.

I received a 50% response rate by people more than willing to help and they usually commented on my resume, which is why I think that it is important to include. Nevertheless, they know what I want so there is no need to hide it. Also don't be discouraged, I would be emailed by MDs weeks later and they would apologize, saying they were traveling and couldn't reply promptly.

Either way, the networking is up to you but I owe my success to networking. Although these individuals were important and could pull weight, they did not contribute for the most part to OCR, which meant it was all on me.

With hard work comes luck!

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Comments (49)

May 21, 2012 - 5:12pm

Soooo this led to an offer how? I get that you got a 50% response rate, that's great, but I'm assuming they didn't just reply saying, "Hi XXXX, I like your initiative, here's a job offer!"

May 21, 2012 - 5:24pm
Count Drachma:
my resume, which is why I think that it is important to include. Nevertheless, they know what I want so there is no need to hide it.

yo mane, this aspect of networking into IB is hotly debated, and I think the issue will never be settled. but most peeps done told me don't attach it, and to take the advice approach and steer clear of hinting at recruiting, at least at first. gucci.
May 22, 2012 - 11:47am
Count Drachma:
my resume, which is why I think that it is important to include. Nevertheless, they know what I want so there is no need to hide it.

yo mane, this aspect of networking into IB is hotly debated, and I think the issue will never be settled. but most peeps done told me don't attach it, and to take the advice approach and steer clear of hinting at recruiting, at least at first. gucci.

Was that even english? How does one "done told me"

Eventus stultorum magister.
  • 1
May 21, 2012 - 5:30pm

As I said, networking got me to the next steps in the process... an interview. Not sure if you would like me to go over how to dial the phone and talk to someone. Also not sure if you want me to go over each interview question and my answers.

So to answer your question. This led to an offer by my contacts liking me, seeing my drive, and finding out I'm a sociable smart kid. I then was referred for an interview. Then a superday. Then an offer. Didn't think I needed to walk through the interview process.

The point of my post was to provide new monkeys with an idea on how to begin their networking. This worked for me, and I hope it works for others.

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May 21, 2012 - 5:47pm
Count Drachma:
As I said, networking got me to the next steps in the process... an interview.

No, you didn't say that in your post. You said:

Count Drachma:
Although these individuals were important and could pull weight, they did not contribute for the most part to OCR, which meant it was all on me

Lol, I'm just busting your balls man there's no need to get pissy. Clearly you asked them what kind of skills the company was looking for, how you could optimize your resume for their recruiting, firm-specific stuff that would help you in the interview, etc., but your post makes it sound like simply using Google to send cold emails landed you a good internship.

May 21, 2012 - 8:14pm

One other thing I would mention about LinkedIn: It's a lot easier for the person to take note of your message. When you send it to their work e-mail, it might get lost among the hundreds of others of messages. For LinkedIn, however, your message might be the only one in their inbox.

Good job on the 50% response rate. I noticed it too that my LinkedIn response rate is exponentially higher than me e-mail response rate.

May 21, 2012 - 10:05pm

Good article. I recently lost my job and have been struggling in the tough market.
Best Response
May 21, 2012 - 11:45pm

When I cold emailed as a sophomore, I was straight up front and attached my resume. Within 40 emails and 20% response rate I got an internship at a boutique. FYI, I go to a semi target, 3.7 gpa. Now, when I asked people for an advice on cold-emailing, those who haven't done it told me to ask for an informational interview first. On the other hand, those who had success with this told me to just ask for it and send your resume. I guess this wouldn't have worked if my gpa was low/my school name wasn't as reputable, which could mean your cold-emailing content really comes down to how competent you are.
In conclusion, congrats.

May 22, 2012 - 12:30am

Some firms include middle initials which kind of screws everything up. Additionally, older employees that were at a bank or firm for a long time might have an old email from a pre-merger. This happened to me for JPM.

If that happens, I would re-search on WSO or simply used Linkedin and ask that they reply to my note to my email address. That would force them to use their email to send me one.

May 22, 2012 - 12:35am

Great post & congrats on the offer.

I find LinkedIn to be great for networking in general.. whether you're looking for advice, a job, or just building your sales funnel. If you're doing any of those things, I recommend upgrading so you can get some INmails as well.

Either way, when you're networking to find a job or whatever have you, you're basically doing sales. You're either selling yourself or a product. And one of the big secrets to selling is that sales=a long series of Yeses. For instance, when someone accepts and Inmail and answers your question, that's a Yes. When this person agrees to give you advice, that's another Yes. When they agree to take a phone call to talk with you, another Yes. They agree to meet up in person, and that's yet another Yes.. and so on until you ultimately reach your goal.

Moral of the story, it's vital to not rush the sale. You shouldn't be expecting an offer via Linkedin message. . but you can expect to move along to the next steps. I think the OP said this as well.

To answer the question above, I find a lot of high level execs tend to change the format. For instance, since they may be BSDs they may just change it to [email protected] or something like that.

May 22, 2012 - 2:35am

Great post and congrats!
Thanks for your share of the story. On the other hand, it's amazing what you can get when you combine motivation and Google.

couldn't let go of my pair of aces...
May 22, 2012 - 6:17am

Nice post. I've also became an advocate of attaching a resume with the initial contact email. It's easy for a person to ignore your email, but if they see your resume and realize you're legit and worth their time, they might help you out.

May 22, 2012 - 9:17am
I don't think this warrants a long post, this isn't a difficult concept whatsoever, but congrats.

Better delete this post...someone is pretty liberal with their use of monkey shit in this thread if you question this guy's genius hahahaha

May 22, 2012 - 7:33am

Thanks that email format is helpful, although it says I have to be a premium member on Linkedin to message people I don't know, lame! I was going to ask, do you think it's worth mentioning I have secured an internship with a BB firm this summer in the email, perhaps to add more credit to myself?

May 22, 2012 - 11:07am

this was what i did back in the days...some people have it way easier but dedication pays off

May 22, 2012 - 11:43am

Nice post. Certainly reminded to keep a solid linkedin profile and to spread the usefulness of it.

Mr.Mathie | Ideas are nothing without execution - Jeux de Commerce Central
May 23, 2012 - 3:00pm

Used the same tactics to secure my current Boutique Consulting Firm offer. Definitely utilize LinkedIn as much as possible, before it gets "priced-in" and every hipster gets the idea. The previous user that mentioned Sales is spot on. Except instead of needing to close multiple sales, you only need to close one, so be patient. Some things:

  1. If you sign up for an account, you get some useful tools. Your profile shows everyone who has checked out your page, including the Bankers/Consultants you've researched. You also get 3 InMails, which are more effective than email, and if it garners no response, LinkedIn "refunds" the InMail. No risk.

  2. Attaching the resume works both ways. I'd say you should attach it, just because it let's the person know what you're up to. This is especially true if you're cold-emailing an HR person for "advice."

May 25, 2012 - 10:18am

This is a great post and shuld be used as a good guideline for prospective recruits. I'm going to add my two cents on the attach resume thing.

I view it as this: attach the resume and ask for what you want, diplomatically. Don't cold email someone and ask for a job, but I don't think asking for their help is out of the question. I would much rather receive a more agressive-type email from a kid who wants something than a timid email - even if I have no f*cking clue who they were. You're going to be selling something in your career - show the skills you'll need to utilize to get what you want. It carries over exponentially - just be aware of what's rude and inappropriate and what is proactive.

May 25, 2012 - 2:00pm

50% response rate? you must have an impressive resume

I used to be indecisive, now I'm just not sure.
May 29, 2012 - 10:42am


The difference between successful people and others is largely a habit - a controlled habit of doing every task better, faster and more efficiently.
May 30, 2012 - 11:32am

Thanks for the post and congrats!

What advice would you have on the timing of when you contact your insiders?

Would it be better to talk to them before submitting your application to their bank, so it's not too late to make tweaks they suggest? Or better to do it after submitting the application, this way they can just make a referral to HR (if they like you) and you'd already be on their database?

Jul 24, 2012 - 3:46pm

I've run into mixed results with LinkedIn. I have had more individuals add me to the network than write back from InMails. However, I've gotten some good results, which translates into, folks who have responded, offered advice, offered contact information, etc. The issues I'm running into are - creating a balance in keeping my network going without annoying my contacts and folks who add me to their network but don't respond to the email or inquiry with anything specific. I realize it's partly a numbers thing and partly miscellaneous reasons for "no response." I guess the biggest hurdle is finding out how to maintain your contacts without annoying them but making sure you continue to build the relationship. I mean, these folks are virtual strangers, even if they are alumni. Any suggestions?

"Now go get your f'n shinebox!"
  • 1
Jul 24, 2012 - 4:18pm

weird, my linkedin message reply rate was significantly lower than using alumni email address.

The Auto Show
Jan 27, 2013 - 8:16pm

I did the same thing but for FT recruitment and it paid off completely :) Love your attitude and being proactive is what it is all about dude. congrats!

I don't throw darts at a board. I bet on sure things. Read Sun-tzu, The Art of War. Every battle is won before it is ever fought- GG
Jun 12, 2013 - 5:22pm

It's not hard to make the initial contact but I think it's harder to maintain the contact or keep in touch. Often times these opportunities are not there when you contact them but later and it is important to keep in touch with the person - but I have on idea how to do this? Does OP have any suggestions?

Jun 13, 2013 - 4:01pm

My 2 cents on attaching your resume:

Doesn't hurt IMO. I will likely open the attachment and check it out, and even read your email if I see a resume attached. If for no other reason just b/c I'm curious and want to see what kind of stats you have. If I just get an email with no attachment, I'll be more inclined to just ignore it with the other 150 emails that hit my inbox a day.

The reason I would ignore it is b/c it doesn't add any value to me. Seeing your stats I might say, "Wow this kid is kind of impressive and may add value". Not seeing any stats, I might say, "this could be a 1.3 GPA Music major". Nothing against the Music major, but he/she will be a lot less likely to fit into what we are doing.

Not everyone would view things like I do, but I would think more so would like the resume than those that wouldn't. FWIW, I have received two such emails in the last 6-7 years, and one of them got a job and both got interviews.

Anyway, good luck to those of you out there trying to secure a gig.

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed." Theodore Roosevelt
  • 3
Jul 16, 2014 - 9:03am

Great post. I've just recently built up my LinkedIn profile but didn't quite see the point of having a LinkedIn until hearing something like this

"True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less."
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"Its not a question of enough pal. Its a zero sum game, somebody wins, somebody loses. Money itself isn't lost or made, its simply transferred from" - Gordon Gekko
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