When reaching out to someone on LinkedIn about their job, the key is to be professional, thoughtful, and not too pushy. The goal should be to start a mutually beneficial networking conversation, not to directly ask for a job. Here are some tips:
1. Only message people you have some existing connection with
Don’t randomly message strangers. Look for 2nd or 3rd degree connections at companies you’re interested in. Former colleagues, alumni from your university, people you met at events, friends of friends, etc. are all good options. Messaging someone you have an existing association with, however small, makes the conversation feel more natural.
2. Personalize the message
Don’t use a generic template message. Mention how you are connected, if you have met them before, or what you admire about their career or company. Prove you did your research on them and that you are reaching out specifically to them, not just blasting messages to any target company employees.
3. Keep it casual and brief
Don’t formally ask for a job or internship right away, and don’t write a novel. Aim for a friendly, concise note introducing yourself and why you want to connect. Something like: “Hi [name], I saw that you work at [company] – I really admire the work you’re doing in [field]. I’d love to connect and learn more about your career journey.”
4. Offer value
Say upfront what you can bring to the table – don’t just ask for favors. For example: “I have experience in [field] and would enjoy exchanging ideas. Let me know if you’re open to hopping on a quick call or messaging about your work at [company].”
5. Have a specific ask
Close your message with a clear request to continue the conversation. Rather than a vague “Let’s connect!”, try something like: “Would you be open to a 15 minute call next Tuesday to advise me on getting started in [industry]?” This shows you respect their time.
6. Monitor your tone
Sound friendly but professional – not too casual and not too formal. Be positive and enthusiastic without gushing or being overbearing. Avoid sounding desperate or pushy.
7. Follow up tactfully
If they don’t respond after a week, follow up once more saying you’d still love to connect. But don’t harass them with constant messages. If there’s still no reply, move on and find someone else to reach out to.
8. Have a specific goal for the conversation
Know exactly why you want to talk to them and what you hope to get out of it. Is it career advice? Insight into their company culture? Tips on entering their industry? Going into the call with clear objectives will make the conversation more productive.
9. Avoid asking directly about job opportunities
Wait for them to bring up any openings, unless they explicitly said upfront they’d talk jobs with you. You want the conversation to happen naturally, not seem like a ploy to get hired. Focus more on seeking their career advice.
10. Be gracious if they decline or ignore you
Not everyone will want to connect, and that’s ok. Politely accept their decision and move on. Don’t take it personally. You never know when your paths may cross again down the line.
11. Say thank you after connecting
Follow up with a thank you message recapping the conversation highlights and any helpful advice they gave you. Show you valued their time and insights. Consider sending a small gift like a coffee gift card if the chat was extensive.
12. Stay in touch
Periodically keep them updated on your career progress and let them know of any developments related to the topics you discussed. Nurture the new connection by engaging with their content on LinkedIn. Offer to help them in return.
13. Don’t ask to connect with anyone at their company yet
Hold off on requesting intros to others at their employer, unless they voluntarily offer. You want to build rapport with this individual first before asking them to loop in colleagues.
14. Have realistic expectations
Messaging someone is unlikely to immediately lead to a new job on its own. But it can be a valuable networking step that expands your connections and gets your foot in the door at companies you aspire to work for down the line.
The key to successfully messaging someone on LinkedIn about their job is being thoughtful and showing genuine interest in starting a professional relationship, not just using them to advance your own goals. With respect and patience, many networking conversations can blossom into career opportunities.
- Only message people you have an existing connection with, however minor.
- Personalize the message and keep it brief.
- Offer value and have a clear request for continuing the conversation.
- Avoid directly asking about jobs unless they volunteer that information.
- Follow up politely if needed, but don’t harass them.
- Have a specific goal and be gracious if they decline.
- Nurture the new connection over time.
Approaching LinkedIn outreach thoughtfully and professionally can open valuable networking doors that support your career aspirations.