Don’t neglect the power of LinkedIn when it comes to networking — especially if you’re currently looking for a job. The right message can give you an instant connection, open the door to seasoned advice on your career plan and industry insight, or even lead to a job referral.
How to reach out to new contacts on LinkedIn
A ‘cold email’ introduction or LinkedIn message is usually the best way to get the conversation rolling with people you don't know yet. Here’s how to get the ball rolling:
- Open the profile page of the person you want to contact, and click the 'Connect' (to send a connection request; you can include a note in your connection request), or use the InMail if you're a LinkedIn Premium user.
- Enter a short but descriptive subject line (if you're using an InMail).
- Greet the person using their name. Use an informal greeting in most cases.
- Briefly introduce yourself. Use a short 1-2 liner introduction, don't overdo it!
- Mention how you found the person and something you have in common.
- Ask a specific question — make sure this is something not too demanding, like a 10 minute phone call.
How to reach out to your professional network on LinkedIn
Your existing network is also a valuable resource when you’re looking for a job. You don't have to always find new contacts all the time! Here’s how to break the ice:
- Open the profile page of the person you want to contact, and click the blue ‘Connect' button.
- Click the Add a Note button.
- Start with a friendly greeting. Asking about a recent job switch, promotion, or personal event (if you’re close outside of work) is a good way to break the ice.
- Include a specific ask. This can be a bit more than you’d ask of a stranger, but should still be short and simple, like a quick catch up.
- End with a friendly sign off.
Where to look for new contactsAlumni network
A good place to start is with fellow alumni. Not just for recent grads either - you can leverage your university and college connections at any career stage. You can reach out directly to your alumni network, or search for an alumni page on LinkedIn where you can find out who’s working in your industry.Mutual contacts
Establishing a mutual connection can significantly improve your response rates, so prioritize looking for 2nd (or even 3rd) degree connections on LinkedIn. You can identify these contacts by the ‘2nd degree’ or ‘3rd degree’ icons next to their name. To search directly people with mutual contacts, use the ‘Connections’ filter at the top of your search page to select 2nd degree connections.Groups and events
LinkedIn groups and events are a great way to find people in your industry or with common interests. You can search the ‘Events’ page for local or online events, search for groups by keyword, or browse suggested groups and events from your LinkedIn profile.LinkedIn search
If you don’t have a large alumni or professional network to fall back on, that’s okay! You can search directly for potential contacts in your industry via LinkedIn search. Use the ‘People’ filter at the top of your search page and enter the keywords you’re looking for — for example, your industry, location, or a company you’re interested in.
Tips to keep in mind
A few quick tips when sending a cold email or LinkedIn request:
- Keep your introduction email or message short
- While it might be tempting to ask for a job directly, you should build a relationship first.
- Be mindful about their time
- Be authentic with a simple request - ask for advice and not a favor
Don’t feel stalkerish dropping someone you’ve never met an email or message. It’s a common practice and many of your successful peers did exactly the same thing.
Some connections may be brief but others could last for years. Nurture your relationships - they could play a key role in taking your career to the next level!Continue reading...