How to Reach Out on LinkedIn
If you’re a college student you most likely have heard of LinkedIn. After all, it is one of the most said words in the Bay Area which describes “networking”. LinkedIn is certainly full of opportunities, from recruiters to people who are working the position you wish to hold. So, how do you network on LinkedIn? How do you actually build a connection beyond getting accepted as one?
Well, the answer is quite obvious. First reach out to someone, to start a conversation because someone has to say the first word. This ultimately leads to the question we all have, how? How do I slide into someone’s messages? Creating a connection with someone you don’t know is an art within itself. If you approach someone the wrong way you can overwhelm them, leading them to not respond to your message. You wouldn’t run-up to a stranger and start off asking them a super complicated question (at least I hope), or introduce yourself with a 5-minute introduction. Likewise, your messages on LinkedIn should be simple to start a conversation, not too long (nobody wants another reading assignment), and definitely not generic.
Instead, I recommend starting a message by telling the recipient who you are. In one to two sentences describe who you are, assume the person does not know you or may not remember you. Again keep this brief and make it personable because nobody wants to be friends with an uptight robot.
Try something like:
“Hi, I am one of the consulting project managers at the SJSU Marketing Association. I learned a great deal from you at the MA workshop last Wednesday.”
Next, you want to quickly tell them why you are reaching out. Recipients know there's a reason why you are writing them, spare a million formalities and praise, and cut to the chase.
Something that might work would look like this:
“I’m reaching out to you for some advice from someone as accomplished as you. I’m interested in working in product marketing, I’m passionate about the field and have a few quick questions, wondering if you could lend me some advice.”
Lastly, close briefly and memorably. You can thank them in advance for even reading the message, wish them a good day, and leave your name and contact information.
You might structure it like:
“Would you have a few moments in the near future to elaborate on this? Thank you for your time regardless of your answer, have a good day and I look forward to hearing from you *insert smiley emoji*”.
Remember! Don’t press send right away, take a second, make sure your message is grammatically-correct, typo-free, and has the proper language for a LinkedIn message, and then press send.