You can’t truly say that you’re leveraging LinkedIn until you’ve sent outreach messages to both cold and warm connections to build your network, seek advice from similar professionals, or enquire about new opportunities.

But, this can be awkward. Even though it’s online, reaching out to people who aren’t in your immediate circle of friends can be uncomfortable.

To help you out, I’ve compiled my top three tips for creating a killer LinkedIn outreach message!

1. Personalize it to the individual you’re reaching out to. 

Sending a stock message like ‘I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn’ is impersonal. It also doesn’t share your reasons for reaching out, which in turn doesn’t help the person who you want to connect to see how they can help you. As a result, they may just reject you because they don’t have an open network and don’t like connecting to people who are irrelevant to them. If they’re a warm contact, always say how they know you in the invitation in case they’ve forgotten.

2. State your purpose for contacting this person.

Though you might not have space to go in-depth into this during your initial invitation to connect, emphasizing it when you message them for the first time is key. A major mistake I see a lot of my connections making is when they send me an outreach letter and it’s clear that they want to talk to me but I don’t know what it’s about, how I can help them, or why they’re reaching out to me specifically. This leads me to think that meeting with them could be a waste of both of our times. Instead, be very specific about what you’d like from them. If it’s an introduction to another professional in their network, don’t dance around the subject. The same goes for an informational interview. If you want to talk to them, tell them what you’d like to hear their opinion on.

3. Make sure that your request is easy for them to say yes to.

This means making sure that you’ve thought ahead and accommodated them for everything you could think of. If you’re reaching out to a senior professional, chances are they’re extremely busy and won’t be inclined to accept an ‘informational interview’ at an unknown location for an unknown duration. Instead, explicitly state that you’re seeking 15 minutes of their time at their convenience either in person, over the phone, or over video. Then, when they agree, provide them with an agenda that details exactly what you’d like to achieve. The more transparent you are, the easier it will be for others to want to help you.

Do you have any questions about sending LinkedIn outreach messages? Let me know in the comments section!