“Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional LinkedIn profile.” Official translation: “I have no imagination and I couldn’t be bothered to write a personal message”. Of course, that’s not what you mean but that’s how you come across. Of the many ways to network on LinkedIn, this is probably the worst and is highly unlikely to open many doors.
Online networking is a bit like online dating (Yes we, unfortunately, have taken it there). In person, we have the added charm of an incredible outfit, great body language and silly little things like sweet smelling perfume to win people over. Yet online words mean everything. When you network on LinkedIn those opening lines can determine whether or not your desired connection will welcome you into their inner circle. Ouch!
If you’re a longtime PYT reader you’ll know that we’ve practically tattooed the words ‘Your network is your net worth’ on our foreheads! So I’m not going to repeat that. Instead, today’s article is more of a practical exercise. Rather than tell you why it’s important to network on LinkedIn, I’m going to give you some PYT approved templates aka an introduction cheat sheet:
Template 1: Following up after a Panel Event
It was great to hear you speak at the recent Pepper Your Talk panel event on Tuesday. I’ve recently moved to London, so your tips for building an industry network were really helpful.
I was hoping we could connect so I can stay up-to-date on your work and future talks.
Template 2: Seeking Advice
I am a huge fan of your weekly podcasts and found Episode Name particularly insightful as I’m due to graduate next month.
I contribute to a student-run blog at my university called XXX and would love to ask you some questions about your experience as a fashion journalist.
TOP TIP: If you’re going to declare yourself a fan of someone or something, be specific. Reference a particular article or campaign that you love.
Template 3: A future colleague
I am really excited to join Company Name next month as PR Assistant. The recent XXX campaign and the company’s use of emergent technology is one of the reasons I applied to work for XXX. I’m really looking forward to contributing and collaborating with you and the team.
Template 4: Reaching out to a peer
I saw your styling work in this month’s XXX and just wanted to congratulate you on producing such an incredible shoot!
I’m also a freelance stylist and I’m trying to build a network of fellow stylists so we can support and encourage each other.
Template 5: The total stranger
I’m an XXX student at XXX. Your profile came up when I was looking for Luxury Accessories Buyers and I really admire your career journey. I’d love to connect on LinkedIn and if you have the time, I would really appreciate your advice on securing an entry-level role at XXX.
Okay, so these templates should work as a foundation for almost anyone you want to become LinkedIn official with. Whatever the circumstances, there are three golden rules for your opening gambit: State who you are, how you found them and why you want to connect.
You only have 300 characters, so keep it professional and concise. A major advantage of networking on LinkedIn is that you have the time to draft a charming introduction that you might be too nervous to pull off IRL (well we’ve done it for you), so don’t waste the opportunity.
Side note: I hope you find these templates useful, I’m going to give them a go myself because she needs to step her LinkedIn game all the way up.
Words by Akilah Cohen