So, you're on LinkedIn and you notice that an old co-worker or boss works at one of the companies you're interested in. Great!
There's only one issue: you haven't been in contact with this person in years. So, how should you reach out?
Having a strong connection within the company you'd like to work for is key in landing the job. Even if the person you know doesn't have final say in the hiring process, they can recommend you or direct you to someone in the company that could help you through the application/interview process.
Not only that, but you can learn more about the company culture and values from this contact, which could potentially alter your feelings toward the position.
That's why it's incredibly important to reach out to this person on LinkedIn and ask them to connect. Remember, you only have 300 characters to persuade someone to connect with you on LinkedIn. If you're stumped on what to say, try saying something like this LinkedIn template in your request:
Can't believe we haven't connected yet on LinkedIn yet! I saw you were working at XYZ company. I have fond memories of working with you and would love to chat about working together again. Can we connect?
Notice that you're keeping the message pretty open. You're not talking about the position; you're just talking about working together again. Keep it simple and to the point.
This is a great way to network by reconnecting with a former co-worker. As soon as this person connects with you, reach out to them and ask for a quick phone conversation.