LinkedIn makes it very easy to message others on the site to ask them to join your network, to request job or career advice, or to ask them to write you a recommendation. However, while it is easy to send messages, they should still be well-written and professional. Below are a few guidelines to remember when writing a message on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Message Guidelines
Salutation: When composing a message to a current contact, format your message like a professional email. Include a salutation; if you are on a first-name basis with the person, you can use their first name. Otherwise, use their title (Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. XYZ).
Subject Line: When you send an invitation to connect, the message will automatically have the subject line filled in. For other messages you send, be sure to add a subject line that reflects why you are writing.
Self-Introduction: If you are messaging a contact, the understanding is that you already know one another. However, if you connected with this contact a long time ago, and are worried they do not remember you, you can certainly begin your email with a brief re-introduction ("I cannot believe it has been over a year since we attended XYZ Conference together").
Enforce Your Willingness to Help: If you are messaging someone to ask for a favor (a recommendation, job advice, etc.), be sure to announce your willingness to help them as well (i.e. "I would be more than happy to write you a recommendation as well."). When you do something for a contact on LinkedIn, they are far more likely to do something for you.
One great way to get help is to start by writing a LinkedIn recommendation. Giving to get works really well and if you've offered an unsolicited reference, you'll be at an advantage when you need assistance.
Thank You: If you are messaging someone to ask for a favor, be sure to say thank you towards the end of your message. If they complete the favor for you, be sure to follow-up quickly with a thank-you message.
Don't Overdo It
Don't take advantage of your network. Be judicious about who you ask for help and how often you request assistance. Also, be careful about who you ask for help if you are currently employed. Don't send a mass mailing to a lengthy list of connections. Instead, be selective about who you ask for help and take the time personalize your request.
Tips for Sending LinkedIn Invitations to Connect
Personalize Invitations to Connect: When sending a connection request, LinkedIn provides the generic message, "I'd like to add you to my professional network." Never use this message on its own; instead, personalize each request. Below are a few guidelines for writing an invitation to connect.
Introduction: Begin with a self-introduction if you do not already know the person.
Why You Would Like to Connect: Explain why you want to be contacts with the person; perhaps you read an interesting article they posted, you both work for similar companies, etc. If you would like to connect because you want career advice, you can include this in your invitation. However, do not directly ask for a job or for a recommendation until the person has accepted your invitation.
Mutual Benefits: Emphasize how the potential contact could benefit from your connection. Something as simple as, "Please let me know if I can be of any help," will show the person the potential benefit of being your contact.
Say Thank You: Always end by saying "Thank you."
Follow-up: If the person does not respond in about a month, you can send one more request. After that, it is best to stop. Some people simply keep a small list of close contacts.
How to Send a LinkedIn Message
Here's how send messages to your connections:
- Click on Connections
- Select the people you want to send the message to by clicking on the box next to the contact name
- Once you have selected the ones you want to send the message to, click on the Send Message link on the right (the Send Message link won't show until at least some connections are selected)
- Add a Subject to the message
- Add the message content and click Send Message
- You can send to a maximum of 50 contacts at one time
How to Use LinkedIn