When reaching out to someone on LinkedIn, the first message you send is crucial for making a good first impression and starting a meaningful conversation. Here are some tips on what to include in your initial LinkedIn outreach message:
Personalize the greeting
Avoid generic greetings like “Hi” or “Dear Sir/Madam.” Make it more personal by using their name and acknowledging any existing connection you may have, like a shared alma mater or mutual connections.
Briefly explain who you are, your role/position, and company. This context helps them understand why you are reaching out. Keep it short – 2-3 lines at most.
Explain why you want to connect
Be upfront about your reason for connecting. Are you interested in their career path? Do you need advice on breaking into their industry? Tell them specifically why you chose to reach out to them.
Compliment or praise their work
Look at their profile and find something impressive or interesting to genuinely compliment – like an award, promotion, big project, etc. This shows you took time to learn about them.
Propose next steps
Suggest meeting for coffee, or ask if you could schedule a quick phone call to learn more about their career journey. Give them a clear call-to-action for continuing the dialogue.
Thank them sincerely for taking the time to read your message. People are more inclined to respond positively when shown gratitude upfront.
Here are some examples of great opening messages to send on LinkedIn:
Connecting with a company insider
My name is [your name] and I’m currently a [your position] at [your company]. I noticed that you work at [their company] as a [their position]. I have long admired [their company] and am very interested in learning more about the industry.
Would you be open to hopping on a quick phone call sometime in the next couple weeks? I would love to learn more about your career path and any tips you may have for someone looking to break into [their industry]. Please let me know if you have any availability!
I really appreciate you taking the time to read this note. Looking forward to hopefully connecting soon.
Seeking career advice
My name is [your name] and I graduated from [university] last year with a degree in [your degree]. I noticed we both went to [university] and are now working in the [industry] industry, you as a [their position] at [their company].
I’m hoping to learn more about your career journey, specifically how you broke into [industry] coming out of college. Would you have 30 minutes in the next few weeks for a quick coffee chat? I’m happy to come to you and would really appreciate any advice you can share!
Looking forward to hopefully connecting. Have a great rest of your week!
Following up on a conference connection
It was great chatting with you at [conference name] last week. As I mentioned, I’m [your name] and I head up [your role] at [your company]. You gave me some really interesting insights into [topic discussed] while we were at the event.
I’d love to continue our conversation and learn more about your approach to [topic]. Would you have any time for a quick phone call in the coming weeks? Please let me know if you’re open to connecting again.
Thanks again for the great conversation. I look forward to hopefully speaking again soon!
Tips for crafting effective LinkedIn messages:
- Keep it short – 3-5 sentences max.
- Proofread for typos and grammar mistakes.
- Use a warm, casual tone as you would in an email.
- Ask an open-ended question to continue the dialogue.
- Stay positive – no hard sales pitches or urgent requests.
- Follow up if you don’t hear back within a week.
- Personalize each message you send.
- Introduce yourself every time – don’t assume they’ll remember you.
- Explain why you are reaching out specifically to them.
- Have a clear call-to-action, like requesting a phone call.
What to avoid in LinkedIn messages:
- Long introductions about yourself.
- Vague, generic language like “Let’s connect soon!”
- Overly formal language like “Dear Mr. Smith”.
- Talking only about yourself without personalizing.
- Asking for a job or internship right away.
- Sending the exact same message to every connection.
- Aggressive sales language with urgent calls-to-action.
- Forgetting to follow up if they don’t respond.
- Asking overly demanding requests like “Pick a time we can talk.”
- No clear purpose for connecting.
Following up if you get no response
If you don’t hear back within a week, it’s okay to send a polite follow up message, such as:
“Hi [name], just wanted to follow up and make sure you received my earlier message about [topic]. Let me know if you have any availability to connect in the coming weeks. Thanks again for your time!”
However, avoid aggressively following up multiple times. If they do not respond after a follow up or two, it may be best to move on and re-engage them down the line when you have something new to discuss.
Transitioning the conversation offline
Once you establish a dialogue on LinkedIn, suggest transitioning the conversation to a more personal channel like phone, email or in-person meetup. This builds a deeper connection and takes your relationship offline.
For example: “Thanks for chatting on LinkedIn. Would you be open to continuing via email or meeting up for coffee next week? Let me know what works best for you.”
A phone or in-person conversation allows for richer, more genuine networking as you get to know each other beyond just professional profiles.
Following up after connecting
Following up after an initial conversation is key. Send them a warm thank you note recapping your discussion, and sharing any helpful resources or introductions as discussed. Here’s an example follow-up:
“[Name], it was so great chatting with you yesterday and learning more about your career background. Thank you again for taking the time to speak. As discussed, here is the link to that book I recommended on [topic]. Let’s definitely keep in touch, and please don’t hesitate to reach out if I can ever be helpful. Looking forward to staying connected!”
Following up shows you were listening, helps strengthen your new connection, and keeps the conversation going.
Connecting on LinkedIn takes effort, but pays off
Done thoughtfully, LinkedIn outreach can connect you to mentors, partners, clients and valuable insiders at companies you admire. But cold messaging strangers takes effort. To maximize results:
- Research profiles before reaching out so messages are personalized and relevant.
- Put yourself in their shoes. What do they care about? Why should they talk to you?
- Suggest specific ways to talk further – don’t let the conversation end with LinkedIn messages.
- Persist but don’t pester with aggressive follow ups.
- Build relationships – LinkedIn is about people, not promotions.
With the right strategy, you can turn LinkedIn from a static profile into an opportunity to grow your network and have meaningful career conversations.
So be bold, and don’t be afraid to say that first hello! You never know where it may lead.