So you want to send a LinkedIn message. There’s a lot of reasons to want to message somebody on LinkedIn, whether it be to touchpoint with a recruiter during the interviewing process, to get in contact with alumni in particular industries, or to just display your interest in a position or company. There are, however, ways in which LinkedIn messaging can help an individual achieve their future goals and also ways in which LinkedIn messaging can hurt you. Here are some things to do… and not do.
- Introduce yourself and quickly state your purpose of reaching out. You don’t have to personally know who you are reaching out to or even need to have had a conversation with him or her in the past, but you do need to quickly and efficiently explain why you are reaching out in order to get a response.
- Start off with a proper greeting and end with a “Sincerely” or “Best” in your first message. It conveys a professional tone and is a really good way to maximize your chances of starting a conversation.
- Spell and fact check any specific name that you use (for the person or the company) or anything that you say about the organization. Not following this simple tip has lost many people potential employer responses, LinkedIn contacts, and even internship opportunities.
- Ask about job or internship opportunities or about a progress update in the hiring process tactfully.
- Utilize the Bentley Alumni network! There are Bentley alumni working across thousands of companies and many industries. Before you message an upper-management CFO that you have no connection to, look and see whether you can find a Bentley grad who will want to connect and help you out to make better use of your time.
- Make careless mistakes. If you’re unsure of whether or not to say something, it’s better to stay on the safe side and avoid any misinterpretation, as LinkedIn messages can’t really convey tone or intention as effectively as a phone call.
- Force a meeting or phone call. Unless the individual you are reaching out to wants to schedule additional communication, don’t ask for an opportunity to call again if he or she just avoided that question the first time.
- Desperately message upper-management. When internship or job opportunities seem bleak, it’s easy to think that going to the source (management) will help you get an opportunity quicker. The CEO of a company might not appreciate you randomly asking for a job, but talking to an employee of the company about their experience might alternatively give you a leg-up. So be strategic.
- Lose your formal tone. Even if the employee is being casual in his or her responses to you, you still want to keep your professionalism and send grammatical-error-free messages. Don’t revert to slang or friendly language unless you’re close to the person you’re messaging and, even then, you want to keep it on the professional side. For example, remember what kind of language you use when your congratulate even your closest friends for their newly-accepted positions on LinkedIn and don’t let go of it!
- Send too many messages. One or two discussing a topic or conversation is okay, but you don’t want to overwhelm a newly-added contact. See how your talk goes and if his or her responses are much shorter and much less engaged, dial it down with the number of questions you have. Assume that whoever you’re talking to is very busy, and be conscientious of his or her time.