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Mastering the Art of LinkedIn Networking: Engaging with Professionals and Exploring Opportunities

PLEASE STOP messaging people to connect on LinkedIn for an Informational Interview and also ask if they are hiring or can get you a job in that same message.

Do this instead! 

LinkedIn stands as an essential tool for building connections and exploring career paths. When reaching out to someone on LinkedIn, especially at a company or college you're interested in, the approach should be about forging meaningful connections and gaining insights into their experiences and the organization, not just inquiring about job openings.


  1. Do Your Research: Thoroughly research the company or college and the professional you’re reaching out to. Understand their role, contributions, and any recent organizational news to create a foundation for a relevant and engaging conversation.

  2. Personalize Your Message: Tailor your message by referencing specific details that align with the recipient's experience or the organization’s achievements. This shows your genuine interest and sets the stage for a meaningful interaction.

  3. Focus on Building a Relationship: Aim to establish rapport rather than immediately asking about job openings. Express interest in their career path, the challenges they faced, or the projects they are proud of, which can naturally lead to conversations about the company culture and potential opportunities.

  4. Be Respectful of Their Time: Keep your message concise and considerate of their busy schedule. If they don’t respond, follow up once, but respect their decision if they choose not to engage.

  5. Propose a Brief Discussion: If the conversation progresses positively, suggest a short phone call or Zoom meeting, ideally not exceeding 15 minutes. This demonstrates your respect for their time and commitment to efficiency.

  6. Prepare for the Informational Interview:Preparation is Key: Once a meeting is scheduled, prepare diligently. This includes formulating questions that are insightful yet can be covered within the allocated time frame.-Share Questions in Advance: Provide the professional with your questions at least 24 hours before the interview. This allows them to prepare thoughtful responses and ensures a productive discussion.

  7. Offer Value in Return: Networking is about mutual benefit. Share something of value, like an article or your perspective on a shared interest, to enrich the conversation.

  8. Seek Advice, Not a Job: Frame your conversation around seeking advice or insights rather than directly inquiring about job opportunities. This approach is more likely to yield valuable information and build a genuine connection.


Effective LinkedIn networking requires a strategic approach focused on building authentic connections and learning from others' experiences. 


By demonstrating genuine interest, respecting time constraints, being well-prepared for informational interviews, and offering value in return, you can create meaningful professional relationships that may lead to potential opportunities in the future. 


Networking is about creating mutually beneficial relationships, not just a means to an end. 

Imaging getting a message from someone you don't know asking to talk to you for 30 minutes about your job and in that same message asking you for a job where you work. Would you be interested in connecting with them? 

vs.

Getting a message from someone who shows genuine interest in your field of work, has clearly read through your work experience and asks if you would be willing to speak to them about the work you do? Would you be interested in connecting with them? 


Let me know your thoughts in the comments or if you want some sample messages to send connections for networking.

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