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Personal experience of a Russian-speaking immigrant: how to find investors or work in the USA through LinkedIn

Blogger Ivan Dyakov gave valuable advice for startups who plan to attract investment in the United States, companies and entrepreneurs who want to enter the US market, as well as those who plan to move to the United States and want to find work before moving. He wrote about this in his blog on Vc.ru.

Photo by the author

Next - from the first person.

I will analyze it only on the example of LinkedIn and my experience (I live in the USA for a year and a half). A detailed guide is also suitable for Europe and Canada.

So, here is one of the tasks indicated in the title of the article. So, you need to make a plan to conquer America and be sure to include in it the "conquest of LinkedIn." And it's not a joke.

LinkedIn today is the largest network of professional contacts in the world. In total, more than 575 million people from around the world, and more than 150 million of them live in the United States (group statistics).

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Attention: you need a year or at least six months, since my recommendations are not of the nature of carpet spam bombing against your potential partners, employers or investors. It's about carefully cultivating your network of contacts in the United States.

Here is my list of required tools and items that helped me grow my networking from scratch in exactly one year to 3500 targeted contacts:

  1. A well-written profile is your professional resume.
  2. A list of scripts to query friends, correspondence, and the like.
  3. At least one hour a day, five days a week to work on your profile.
  4. A separate site with your portfolio is desirable.
  5. Any CRM where you will capture interesting contacts.
  6. Any calendar service so that the interlocutor can quickly arrange a call with you.
  7. VPN service if your browser does not open LinkedIn.
  8. Having a goal is what you want to achieve with your actions and when.

Properly written profile - your professional resume

When registering a profile, make a short name in the link to share your profile on the social network, if necessary. No need to write nicknames, year of birth, etc.

Main profile language choose English. I at one time did not know that then you can’t change the main language - now, although I write everything in English, when uploading a profile, the headers remain in Russian. Therefore, to send partners my portfolio I use a profile on angel.co.

Photo - from work, from school, in a professional setting, in a shirt. Photos from parties from Facebook, Instagram and VKontakte - leave for friends. Be sure to put a photo on the cover.

Summary It doesn’t mean that you are looking for work, this is your professional card. It is done in much the same way as a resume. Therefore, the recommendations are general.

The main difference from the Russian resume - here you need to write, not what they did, but what they did. Only figures and facts. In positive dynamics. For example, during the work, the client base grew by 20% or the CTR in one advertising project was 5%.

Title - It should reflect either your current working status or what you are doing. It should also be specified. Not a "sales manager", but "the top 100 managers in Moscow." If there is no direct merit, you can write "I reduce business costs by half" or "I work three times faster" and so on.

Any flight of fancy that will allow you to distinguish you from the general mass when searching for potential partners or recruiters. By the way, I didn’t write the title very well in my profile, so I’ll soon edit it taking into account my own recommendations.

Further, the biggest difference is sammari. Here you tell about yourself, your professional life in several sentences. The task is to make it clear after reading the sammari why and why you need a partner, investor or company.

Everything is allowed with regard to its achievements and advantages. Be sure to have a few keywords (key words), which also help to display your profile above others.

It’s not worth it to shuffle your keywords like a duck with apples. A few words about you outside your work / business are also allowed. For example, I wrote about children's hobbies (martial arts and books), which later came in handy in business (for more details, see my profile).

It is advisable to write without errors, I run the text through the Grammarly service (it stands as an extension in the browser) and give the media proofreading if I write a very important text or commercial offer.

Places of work - write only about relevant experience! Or one that shows your strengths and best achievements. Your merits are necessarily in numbers, growth dynamics. If you worked for yourself in different companies, projects, then create separate profiles for these companies. And when choosing a job in the search, find them. Post any comprehensive information on company profiles.

If you have been working in the same company for several years and changing positions, formalize this with an indication of the dynamics of your professional growth and achievements.

Studying places, certificates, projects, languages, volunteer activities are mandatory points. Especially volunteer work.

Skills, or skills - choose everything (maximum 50) that you really own. The top three are the most important. Basically, they will then judge you. Including the number of endorsements received (skills assessment by other friends, below will be about it).

Connect to groups that interest you. If this group is private, write a connection request.

Have you written everything, have you indicated everything? Great, now try downloading your profile and see how many pages it has.

If you plan to look for work with this, then a maximum of two sheets, taking into account the experience of more than ten years. If you look for partners, investors and customers - a maximum of three sheets.

List of scripts for friend request, chat and other tasks

Why do we need scripts:

  • write an invitation or make contact;
  • say thank you for the connection;
  • ask for an intro or introduce it;
  • happy birthday and professional event;
  • any other follow-up scripts.

On Google, look for LinkedIn templates and add connection, endorsement, and so on, depending on the purpose.

Remember: there is a lot of spam on LinkedIn now, and writing your “unique” offer right after adding to your friends is by no means worth it!

At least one hour a day, five days a week to work on your profile

This includes sending greetings, commenting on posts, evaluating the skills of other users, searching for new contacts and sending “friend” requests, feedback letters to those who asked questions, or “thanks” to those who connected in you. Editing your profile to perfection.

You can add everyone in a row only at the very beginning, when you have zero networking. Then write a personalized request to everyone. Do not abuse the addition of unknown contacts, they may block you. That’s why one hour a day is enough for you not to “overwork”.

If you do not know the person to whom you are addressing, then just write - only honestly. And right away - why and why you want to add. This works in almost 100% of cases.

Endorsement, or assessment of the skills of your contacts. I had not thought about this before, but it turns out that this somehow affects the search results and the general appearance of your profile.

My life hack: recently, I began to evaluate all my “friends”, not only the three skills that are visible immediately in the profile, but most of the others. This immediately attracts attention, since locals have long known that skills need to be evaluated so that you are also appreciated. Therefore, we value more than necessary.

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A separate site with your portfolio is desirable

To do this, you do not need to have programming skills, layout or know how to build a site on WordPress. One option is Tilda, the other is creating your own blog from Google. Take ready-made forms - and go.

Plus, you can also make a memorable name when buying a domain or connect mail, which will only be for communicating with contacts from the United States.

I didn’t specifically do the portfolio, because there projects are either under the NDA or are already closed for various reasons. There is a bit in my previous material and on my LinkedIn profile.

Keep in mind: few projects that are implemented in the Russian Federation will be of concern to the United States.

Any CRM where you will capture interesting contacts

If you plan to subsequently integrate your CRM with various foreign services, then keep in mind that CRMs like Bitrix24 and amoCRM do not support a lot of things. And moving a large database to another CRM can greatly complicate the work. I use Pipedrive, but this is not necessary, Excel is enough for the first time.

In CRM, bring in everyone who has somehow shown interest in your project, product, or personally. Be sure to standardize the cards of those you will deposit.

For example, “VC partner”, “business angel”, “can do intro”, then it will be easier to do a quick search. Be sure to save important details of correspondence in CRM. I have more than 1000 contacts in CRM, 450 different negotiations on five different projects or funnels, so only accounting helps not to forget and remain effective in each contact.

You do not need to create notes on general topics and conversations. I write only when the contact has become a leader in one of my projects.

Any calendar service so that the interlocutor can quickly arrange a call with you

I use the free Calendly service to work with customers from the Russian Federation who need project management in the USA. A short link and a short description so that your contact understands what it’s about and can choose a convenient time for a call. An example in Russian.

For those who live in the USA, of course, everything should be in English. For the US Charity charity foundation, where I am a volunteer and co-founder, I send everyone an invitation in English.

All invitation options for each project are integrated with CRM and the Google Calendar, which also helps a lot when working in different time zones.

VPN service if your browser does not open LinkedIn

While living in Russia, I did not use LinkedIn, including due to the blocking of this resource. Yes, and did not think that he would ever need it until the will of fate did not end up in the United States.

I think that with the "blocking" Telegram everyone found out about this term and why we need a VPN, so I will not dwell in detail.

Having a goal - what do you want to achieve with your actions and when

For example, you won a green card and don’t know how to find a job in the USA. Your goal is to find, as quickly as possible, in one or two months after moving to the United States, "a dream job." Of course, it’s even better to find before moving. LinkedIn is now one of the most effective tools for this.

Start looking for any possible contacts in your area, using the search filter to understand how relevant your experience is and what are the requirements and conditions in the market. You will have just six months to a year from the moment you passed the selection at the Diversity Visa Lottery until you arrive in the United States.

When your network of contacts is 300-400 people and your profile is completely filled, start looking for recruiters and add them as friends. Again, using scripts for recruiters - and they should be different from regular scripts for professional contacts.

If your goal is to get into the accelerator, start looking for graduates, partners, founders of this accelerator and gradually establish contacts with them. This will help you when you submit an application for participation in the accelerator and you will need feedback or intro for the partner who sits on incoming applications.

I also recommend using any product manager tool to plan and achieve your goals. I work at Trello, where you can create several different boards for different projects at the same time.

If you are looking for customers for different projects or work in different directions, this is very convenient and eliminates confusion. Plus, a knowledge base is being created, as there will be a lot of new information in English.

If you are looking for a partner or want to open a company branch in the USA

Here it’s a little more complicated, because sometimes you need to “as quickly as possible” and there is no half-year or year to grow a network of contacts. In this case, there are not many options:

  1. Apply for a visa, if not already, and go “to the fields”. And there already - how lucky.
  2. Looking for a management company or team to manage your project. There are enough of them now. You can also find a project manager on UpWork. Do the technical task and put KPI - everything is standard.
  3. The best option is if someone you know recommends a team that already has real experience in the US market, its networking and real performance.

Remember, in the USA they sell more in words than they can actually do (Fake it 'til you make it), so word of mouth is the best option for finding such a team.

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