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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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 giphy.com