On occasion, I work with job-seekers who want to make a major career change or relocation to another country. LinkedIn can do wonders for rapidly expanding your connections in a new field or location, if you know how it works. The way it works is:
* You need to use the Advanced Search of People (go to the home page, look on the top right hand side of the page, and click Advanced next to the search box near the word People)
* You can delimit your search by company, keywords, job title, and geography among other things. If you want international relocation, be sure to select the target country. For instance, if you want to work for Mercy Corps’s Thailand office, choose the company of Mercy Corps and the country of Thailand.
* Your search results are limited to people who you are 1st degree connected (you know the person and are connected on LinkedIn), 2nd (you know someone who knows the person) or 3rd (you know someone who knows someone who knows the person) or where you share a group. This is where joining Groups really works like a charm. And it also shows that it pays to have more contacts rather than fewer on LinkedIn, especially when you want to build far-reaching new connections.
If you have a 3rd degree connection with someone, you have to ask your contact to ask their contact to introduce you. It can take a long time and has a lower success rate than other options. Another option is to look at the target person’s profile to see what Groups they are a member of in LinkedIn, then join those groups. Then you can click on the “Connect” button on the person’s profile and when you are asked how you know the person, select the Group you just joined. This not only has a higher success rate than the 3rd degree connection introduction, it also positions you as interested in a common topic or professional group as the target person and will likely expand your search results for future. For instance, if the person is in Thailand and is a member of some sort of International Development/Thailand group, and you join that group, you will now be able to introduce yourself to many more people in that particular geography and sub-field.
If all else fails, and your efforts to connect via LinkedIn aren’t working, you can try a Google search with the person’s name, title, and organization, plus the word email, to see if you can find the person’s direct contact info. For instance, you could do a Google search for “Jane Doe” and “Country Director” and “IRC” and “email” and see what results you get. Then you can email the person directly.
If even that doesn’t work, you might decide to buy the Job Seeker or Business version of LinkedIn, at least for a limited time, so that you can send InMails to people you want to target.