4 LinkedIn messaging tips for career builders

Whether you're an IT pro seeking a new opportunity, an up-and-comer on the lookout for a mentor or a veteran who wants to build out a network of colleagues, these four messaging etiquette tips detail the right (and wrong) way to communicate on LinkedIn.

By Kristin Burnham
May 30, 2016

Maybe you're in the middle of a software deployment and need advice from someone who's been there. Perhaps you're seeking a new mentor to help you carve out a career path or improve an existing skillset. Either way, navigating LinkedIn's waters, which are full of HR representatives, recruiters, jobseekers and managers, isn't always easy.

The key to successful connections with these different personalities lies in both the approach and the details of communication, according to Blake Angove, director of technology services at staffing company LaSalle Network. "LinkedIn doesn't just have to be for job seekers — there's value beyond that," he says. "It's built for professional networking, which makes it easy for you to effectively search out and connect with the professionals you're looking for, for a variety of reasons."

Knowing how to reach out to people the right way can be the difference between ignored messages and ones that spark lasting relationships. Here's how to effectively connect with four key LinkedIn user types — hiring managers, mentors, other IT pros and former managers —along with tips on how to get what you want from them.

How to contact hiring managers, HR reps on LinkedIn

If you recently applied for a job or completed an interview, you might be eager to reach out to the hiring manager or HR representative for updates. If you're hesitant about whether LinkedIn is the right way to communicate, trust your instinct and don't reach out via the social networks, according to career strategist and LinkedIn expert Nicole Williams. However, in the right situations, connecting with hiring pros via LinkedIn can show your continued interest in the position and commitment to the process, and it can keep you and your resume top of mind, Williams says. 

linkedin messaging mobile 
LinkedIn's messaging feature in its Android and iOS apps. Credit: LinkedIn

LinkedIn does not let users message others if they're not already connected or don't have paid accounts. So if you want to reach out to someone with whom you're not connected, send an invitation first, with a customized personal note. "Keep your message concise and friendly, and let them know it was great meeting them and their team," she says. "Bring up an anecdote or topic that was floated around during your interview and expand on it. The interview is still going on at this point. Impress them with this message, and keep it brief." 

If you use LinkedIn to follow up on a job application, first make sure the contents of your resume match your LinkedIn profile, Angove says. "One of the easiest ways to turn off a hiring manager is if dates or info don't line up."

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