If you want to know how to reach out about a job by using LinkedIn cold messages, you’re in the right place. This can be intimidating, and the success rates aren’t great. But with properly targeted messages that are laid out clearly and easy to read, your chances of getting a reply and starting a conversation will greatly increase.
So, let’s take a look at LinkedIn Cold Messages: How to Reach Out About a Job and figure out the best ways possible.
What Is LinkedIn, And How Does It Work?
Just because you’re already on LinkedIn doesn’t mean you should go ahead and skip this information! LinkedIn is a social media site specifically designed to help people make professional connections. Its focus is professional networking and career development, so that can definitely include cold messaging.
The site also boasts over 774 million members as of September 2023, so this is a huge, tailored platform that can be a massive help to you on your career path. LinkedIn is set up and allows you to post your own profile to give an account of your educational background and work experience to potential employers.
Employers use it too…
Employers use LinkedIn to post open positions, which you can browse. Recruiters use the platform to find people who are looking for work, but also to actively recruit or “headhunt” professionals who are already employed.
On top of all that, you can use LinkedIn to learn new skills and get advice by watching videos or even taking courses through the site since they bought Lynda.com and turned it into LinkedIn Learning.
Request A Connection and InMail
I’m sure that whether you’re already using LinkedIn or you have experience with other social media platforms, understanding how to contact people on LinkedIn should be easy and intuitive. There are two ways to contact people that you’re not yet “friends” with or “connected to” to use this platform’s lingo.
You can “request a connection” by sending an invite to connect to anyone on the platform. Like most other social media platforms, this method lets you send a brief message to another user along with a connection request. If they accept, you’re then able to send messages directly to that user’s inbox.
Once you connect with them…
Once you’re connected, you will also be able to see that person’s email address if they’ve chosen to publicize it. You can also send a longer message through LinkedIn’s InMail feature, which goes straight to their inbox.
These messages are flagged for them as InMail, so they know if a message is coming from a new person, they’re not yet connected with. If they don’t accept your InMail, you won’t be allowed to send them further messages. It’s all designed to be simple and easy, just like most other social media platforms.
Now we need to talk about how to cold message…
What is a Cold Message?
Cold messaging comes from cold calling, a term you may recognize if you’ve ever done sales. Cold calling means either calling at the door of someone you’ve never spoken to before, or calling someone new on the phone. Either way, it’s “cold” because you have no lead or connection to help that person warm up to you – you’re starting from scratch.
Cold messaging is the same
Using either a connection request or InMail, contacting a stranger out of the blue can be one of the most intimidating ways I can think of to get a foot in the door. This is true whether you’re looking for a job, a recommendation, or perhaps even just career advice. So to help make it less daunting, here is the best advice I can offer you.
How To Send Effective Cold Messages?
There are many variables that will make your cold message successful and get you a response. These can include things like the receiver’s mood or the amount of free time they have to deal with new messages. But these factors are out of your hands.
Instead, here’s some advice that puts things well within your control:
Look for a connection first
I don’t mean send a connection request first. Instead, what I’m suggesting is that you use LinkedIn to its fullest. After all, it’s meant for connecting people professionally. If you don’t know the person you’re going to contact, it’s still possible that you know someone who does. A mutual acquaintance introducing you can be a far more effective way to get in contact with a stranger.
Think about the differences between these two messages:
a) Hi Jack,
I would like to talk to you about the job posting I saw at your company. With my skills and experience, it looks like a perfect fit.
b) Hi Jack,
I’m a colleague of Ron Mortimer, who you worked with at B.K. Co.Ltd in the 2000s. He suggested that I contact you about an open position with your company which he believes is a great match for my skills set.
Now, if I were Jack, I know which message I’d be more likely to open. Don’t you?
Adopt the right tone
LinkedIn is a professional networking platform. It’s designed for people who don’t know each other to get in touch and discuss employment. So you need to be polite and at least semi-formal in your messages. There’s also no need to apologize for contacting someone.
Phrases like “I’m sorry to bother you, but…” and “I know you’re busy…” are not only unnecessary, they take away from your message and make it look like you lack confidence. While that might not affect whether or not they reply, it won’t impress a hiring manager. Instead, just say why you are contacting them.
Be clear and concise
Look, everyone is busy these days, and HR managers and recruiters are some of the busiest people I know. They have to make very quick decisions about where to focus their attention, so it’s very important to realize that and tailor your messages accordingly.
When I see a cold message pop up in my inbox, I want to know immediately why this person is contacting me. What do they want? If I can’t figure that out in the first two sentences, you guessed it – the chances I’ll respond drop way down.
Respect for the person’s time…
What I would prioritize is a message that very quickly and clearly tells me what this person wants. It both shows a respect for my time and demonstrates good communication skills. I like both of those things!
Let’s pick on Jack again:
a) Hi Jack,
I hope you are well, and I’m wondering if you will accept my connection so that I can discuss some things with you.
Sure, it’s concise, but it has basically told Jack nothing. If you ask me, he will drop this message way down his priority list and eventually will probably forget about it.
b) Hi Jack,
I’m interested in the job of Lead iOs Developer with your company, and I understand this position lands under your supervision. I would like to request more information about the position to judge if this is a good match for someone with my expertise.
This is still short and sweet, but now Jack can see specifically what this person wants to discuss. If he is looking to hire someone quickly, he may well bump this message up to the top of his priority list.
Don’t add attachments to a cold message
Although you may be tempted to include your resume or CV or that 100-page report you wrote that won you so many accolades in your last job, don’t. Just don’t do it.
First of all, you don’t know this person. You’re sending them a LinkedIn cold message out of the blue just to connect with them. That’s enough to ask right off the bat without sending them a big, long document to read.
It’s just too much of an imposition…
And secondly, LinkedIn messages are displayed so that attachments will show up first in the inbox summary. So rather than seeing the first line of your message, what will be displayed is your attached file. We all know big attached files can be intimidating because they normally come with an expectation of more time and work. There’s just no way a stranger will want to receive these kinds of things in a cold message.
What you should do is wait for a connection to be accepted and then find the right opportunity to send over a document if it’s important. Don’t rush to send your CV or anything else until you know that person is willing to accept and read it.
Personalize your messages.
This is something of a pet peeve of mine. Do you know how easy it is to spot a standard message that’s probably been sent out to potentially dozens of other people versus a real personalized message that’s tailored to you? Here are some of the worst mistakes I’ve seen:
a) Dear XXX,
I hope we can get in contact to discuss things.
Yes, they actually left the XXX in instead of writing my name!
I wanted to contact you and ask for information about <position> at your company.
Really? I’m flattered! Not only did she not bother with my name, but it also seems she doesn’t even know which position she’s looking for!
c.) To whom it may concern,
I am a web designer for your business!
Right. “To whom it may concern” in a personal message? That’s not only sloppy; I’m also surprised a spam filter didn’t catch it. These are the worst I’ve seen, but believe me, any message that isn’t tailored has almost no chance of getting through.
If you didn’t take the time to make it personalized for me, why would I spend my time answering you?
Who To Reach Out To About A Job?
Now that you have a handle on how to send a clear and effective cold message, what’s next? Well, you certainly need to know who to reach out to. You don’t necessarily need to head right for the person in charge of hiring for the job you want.
In fact, this is very often impossible since there’s usually no indication of who the hiring manager is on a job posting, at least for larger companies. While you could try to target hiring managers, that might not be the only group to target with your cold messages.
Connect through other employees…
If you can find other professionals who work at the company you’re interested in, and in the department you’re aiming for can be excellent contacts. They likely know both the details of the job and the person in charge of hiring for it. If you can start a conversation, you may learn way more about the job and even be able to ask for them to pass on your resume.
Of course, you may not have a specific job in mind. Instead, you could just be looking for a new position that would be a great place for you to apply your skills. In this case, you can try to reach out to recruiters in your field, either in your local area or farther abroad.
Next, we’ll look at how to specifically cold message these different groups of people.
Cold Messaging Hiring Managers
If you can find the manager in charge of hiring for the position you want, that’s a stroke of luck. It’s also one that you should take great care with because contacting them can make or break your chances of being considered.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s very important to be clear and concise with this type of message. I’d suggest letting them know that you’re contacting them as you believe they are the hiring manager for the job you’re after. But you should also give some indication of why you need to talk with them rather than just sending in your application through official channels.
Here’s an example:
I found your profile, and I believe you are the person to talk to in regards to the opening for a Research Associate at KLX Inc. I’ve been working in this field for the past seven years and have engineering experience in line with the technologies your company is currently developing. If you are the right person, I’d be excited to get in contact to share my experience and learn more about what this position entails.
Once again, this is a clear statement of what the person wants and why they’re contacting Jennifer. Whether or not she’s responsible for the hire, I bet she’d at least respond – and if not, hopefully, direct the applicant to the person who is.
Cold Messaging Other Professionals
The people who work in the same company and department that you are aiming for can be tremendously useful contacts. They may not be involved in hiring, but they normally know who is. If you can develop a conversation with them, they might be inclined to send your resume on to the hiring manager.
They may even be rewarded for helping with a hire. Even if they can’t help you get the job, they can still be a wealth of information about both the details of the job you’re looking at and the general conditions or corporate culture you may be getting yourself into.
I once got this message from a person I’d only just met on LinkedIn:
“If you’re looking for endless layers of bureaucracy and confused, ineffective management, this is the place for you. But I’m planning to leave by year’s end.”
If that’s not a red flag, I don’t know what is!
Approaching other professionals can be easier. All you have to do is be clear about why you’re contacting them and what you hope to get from them. Some people are more than willing to give you lots of wonderful information. Try something like this:
As you’re a Marketing Associate with D&S, I thought I would reach out to you. I am interested in applying for the Junior Marketer position there, and I was wondering what the environment is like in that department. I’m looking for something challenging and highly collaborative, and I hope this is a good fit.
If you manage to strike up a conversation, you may eventually be able to ask for a referral to the hiring manager or to have your resume passed on.
Cold Messaging Recruiters
The job of a recruiter is to go out and find the right people for open positions. So if one comes to you, you’re already ahead of the game. That’s why it’s usually a whole lot easier to successfully cold message recruiters. But it’s still important to do your homework and find recruiters who place people in your field. Otherwise, you may just be wasting your time.
Here’s an example of what to write in a cold message to a recruiter:
I understand from your profile that you do recruiting for companies like Sony, Panasonic, and JBL. I have four years of audio technology engineering experience and am looking for new opportunities in California or even further afield. Does this match with any positions you’re looking to fill?
If Rick is looking for people like you, he’ll snap at the chance to get in touch!
Creating Your First Linkedin Profile?
Online profiles are crucial in the working world today; my Best Linkedin Profile Tips and Best Linkedin Recommendation Examples can help you get started.
If you’re creating your first profile, we recommend reading up on How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile… And 18 Mistakes to Avoid, LinkedIn For Dummies, LinkedIn Riches: How To Use LinkedIn For Business, Sales and Marketing!, and LinkedIn Profile Optimization For Dummies, as well as Ignite Your LinkedIn Profile all available online in 2023.
But, it doesn’t stop there; we’ve also found some insightful online guides on Marketing Yourself in the Age of Digital: CVs, Applications, Interviews, Social Media, LinkedIn, CVs, Resumes, and LinkedIn: A Guide to Professional English, the English for Academic CVs, Resumes, and Online Profiles, and of course Land Your Dream Job: Join the 2% Who Make it Past Resumé Screening to make those connections.
Now that you got the interview, it’s time to start preparing with The STAR Method Explained: Proven Technique to Succeed at Interview and lastly, The STAR Interview: How to Tell a Great Story, Nail the Interview and Land Your Dream Job and land your dream job.
I hope these tips are useful in LinkedIn Cold Messages: How to Reach Out About a Job. More than anything, it’s important to keep your messages professional, clear, concise, and personally directed if you want to get a response.
Remember that no matter who you are cold messaging, these are strangers. Don’t expect more than some professional courtesy. Everyone is busy, but most people will be happy to lend a hand to someone looking for a job, especially if it might benefit their own team.
Just don’t expect anyone to offer you a job. And don’t ask. Instead, ask for more information, details, or even further connections to help you get to your goal.
All the very best with your Linkedin Profile!