LinkedIn Messaging- by RW

By Rebecca Wardle

(I’m posting on Macie’s because I was having issues with WordPress.)

Our Professional Uses of Social Media class has covered some great tips for social media postings. I learned a lot from the LinkedIn discussions about our headline, bios, and engagement (endorsements, recommendations, joining groups, following professionals in my field, etc.). One feature of LinkedIn that I recently found to be important is messaging. This can include a direct message or the message that can accompany a connection request.

how you doin

First of all, get a free trial of LinkedIn Premium for a month if you’re in store for some networking. This allows you to see who views your profile (yeah, that’s right… I see y’all checking out my dope experience and crisp resume), but more importantly the Premium version allows you to message people on LinkedIn with whom you are not connected. There were two businessmen who I wanted to reach out to, but I didn’t technically “know them” so I wasn’t able to send a connection request or message. Premium’s free trial led me to setting up a coffee meet-up with one of the businessmen. (Warning: There’s a limit to the number of messages you can send under the trial. Don’t forget to cancel it after a month, or it will automatically bill you like Spotify and Amazon do after a free trial ends. They should send an email when your trial is ending as a reminder.) The following are the four key points to keep in mind for LinkedIn messaging.

bring it

  1. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people for help or to build a relationship. Networking is the point of LinkedIn, and people like to feel sought-after; I know I love the feeling of helping someone when they contact me with a problem or proposition. Make sure that your message is worthy though. Your purpose for reaching out to someone should always be grounded in professionalism on LinkedIn. People may add you as a connection no matter what your message says, but they will only respond if your message is compelling and credible. Read more.

get a job

2. Be specific about what you’re looking for. Are you asking to apply for a job, to volunteer opportunities, to introduce yourself as a future business contact, or to ask about their organization? He/she will be more likely to respond with helpful information if there is a specific, credible reason you are reaching out to them. It doesn’t need to be extremely detailed, but even clarifying that you’re looking for an internship, part-time, or full-time opportunity is a simple detail that provides focus.

thumbs up

3. Pitch yourself. “Hi, my name is Jane and I would like to add you as a connection/ I would like to get your help with my career” isn’t going to cut it. Build value in yourself as a product.  Be clear and concise, but explain why you are interested in getting their help – why him/her or their organization in particular? Even if there aren’t any positions open (or if you’re asking if there are any open), incorporate your key skills and interests. If there isn’t an open position, maybe you can sell yourself so well that an organization can create a position for you if they feel that your skills can benefit them. Read more.

creative genius

4. Use strong language. (This goes for messages, your resume, and writing in general!) Write in the active voice with strong action verbs. Example of what not to say: “I am in charge of the social media campaign and making sure it gets done.” Example of what to say: “I draft, execute, and manage the spring social media campaign.” Writing in active voice makes your message clearer, and being clear and concise is important when pitching yourself as a potential employee or as someone who you should take the time to help. It makes you sound more competent and confident.


Comment to add your tips for LinkedIn messaging, share a story about a positive or negative experience with LinkedIn messaging, or respond to my key points!


*All gifs taken from


7 thoughts on “LinkedIn Messaging- by RW

  1. This post was very useful! As someone who has a LinkedIn and is just learning how to utilize it for more than an online version of my resume, I don’t know much about the platform. Messaging was one thing that I was curious about, especially when I began to receive those pre-generated messages that people can choose to send to you when you add a new job position, reach a work anniversary, etc. I am glad to hear that LinkedIn Premium offers options that are extremely useful to those of us who are looking for internships and jobs, and that we are able to access these options with a free trial. I found your tips extremely informative—I am always wary to add those whom I don’t know but want to follow because of their job position, and never know what to say once they connect with me. Thanks for writing this!


  2. I thought that this post was very helpful. I’ve run into the issue of messaging on LinkedIn. I’ve always been told it can be helpful, but it’s very daunting. I think Rebecca’s description of DO’s and DONT’s for LinkedIn messaging is helpful and makes sense. I didn’t every really think about the importance of using strong language in a LinkedIn message so I’ll definitely keep that in mind next time.


  3. This a great post about messaging within LinkedIn that I was unaware of! Of course I do not have the Premium account but I plan on signing up for this when I graduate and start to set out for my career change. I think this is a great opportunity to connect with other professionals by creating relationships, building values for yourself so you can sell yourself for that new job, to volunteer, or be a business contact. Right now I don’t use LinkedIn but I receive many emails about connections with professionals in the medical field. I have decided to wait until the fall semester to build up my goals for when I switch careets and I will definitely keep this blog as a tool for guidance. Thank you Rebecca!


  4. This post was great, though I still find myself nervous to message people on Linkedin. Right now I just use Linkedin as a social media profile so that my name is out there, but I think I will sign up for Premium after graduation if it allows me to view who is looking at my profile. The list will be very helpful when writing emails and messages to people I would like to connect to! Great work!


  5. This post was excellent. I am still working on trying to use LinkedIn to the best of its functionality and I have considered getting the premium account so it was nice to know a little bit more about what I can do with it. Your tips were really good- it’s so hard to know what to say when reaching out to a stranger. And of course any tips that help your odds of a response are super relevant! I really liked the Forbes networking article you linked to. Also, your GIFs were hilarious and added a great touch to the post!


  6. This post was really helpful! I recently was just messaging a potential business connection on LinkedIn and I found it difficult to determine what type of voice I should use–more of an email tone or just a simple chat type of tone. I think your advice of trying to sell yourself by using similar action words like one would in an email is really important. If you want to make an impression, you definitely have to make yourself seem valuable and worthy of help.


  7. I especially found your recommendation to get the free trail for LinkedIn. That is not an avenue I had even considered in my quest for a summer internship. I’m definitely going to do that. I really enjoyed the conversational language you used, and your personality shows through your writing. One of my biggest pet peeves is people not using strong, concise verbs in their writing. Ever since taking one of Pam O’Brien’s classes, I feel like an action verb Nazi. I constantly scan my own writing and my peers’ writing for overuse of linking verbs because it makes a huge difference in the way you come across to potential employers or fellow academics. The trick, then, is to be careful that this language use also applies to your face-to-face interactions with potential employers, as well. It’s really obvious when someone uses a thesaurus to write something, but being able to incorporate more descriptive language into verbal communication poses a bit of a challenge. You can easily eliminate the use of the word “like” when writing something that can be edited, but people start to count how many times you say it when you’re talking to them face-to-face, and that makes a really bad impression.

    ***I hope my transition from sending messages to communicating face-to-face with people you meet on LinkedIn didn’t seem like an off-topic rant.


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