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

In your message, it's a good idea to let recipients know how you applied to the job, and tell them you're following up to answer any questions they may have, Angove says. The message should be short and to the point. "Don't follow up more than once with them via LinkedIn," he says. "LinkedIn sends your message to both their LinkedIn account and the email address they associate with it, so they'll see it in two places." And if you don't receive a timely response, consider reaching out to someone else in HR with a slightly different message, he says.

How to message potential mentors on LinkedIn

If you hope to find a new mentor on LinkedIn, you need to know where to look. LinkedIn's "Groups" and "Advanced Search" features are two good places to start.

You should first search for relevant Groups based on your location, according to Angove. This can help you find nearby professionals, cultivate relationship, and then seek out the most active users. "These are the people who are already in the mindset of being a mentor — they're already sharing, they're already teaching," he says.

Using LinkedIn's Advanced Search feature, you can search by industry, title, location and keyword to narrow down results, according to Williams. When you find professionals that fit your criteria, reach out with purposeful messages. "Do you want that person to help you find a job? Make your skill set better?" Angove asks. "Once you identify that, craft your message around that goal."

However, you shouldn't immediately ask people to be your mentor, Williams says. Instead, you should first attempt to establish a rapport. "Introduce yourself and compliment them on their career," she says. "Through several exchanges, you'll see that a mentor relationship is starting to form."

How to reach out to IT colleagues on LinkedIn

If you're just starting a search for new technology vendors or are in the middle of a companywide software implementation, reaching out to other IT professionals who have successfully navigated the same terrain can provide a wealth of useful advice. "IT pros love to teach and share best practices and successes on projects, and by tapping into that you can gain a lot of value," Angove says.

LinkedIn user Groups dedicated to projects similar to yours are good places to find likeminded pros, according to Angove. Connecting with Groups also lets you create dialogues with people you aren't directly connected to, and that helps build new relationships with potentially valuable contacts. "Just remember to keep it professional," he says. "Your questions and comments are visible to everyone in that group."

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