This tip was originally publised as a LinkedIn Tip of the Week. If you have questions about some aspect of using LinkedIn that are not answered in Job-Hunt’s LinkedIn Job Search Guide, please send your question to email@example.com.
Smarter LinkedIn Messages
I’ve received so many messages inside of LinkedIn recently from job seekers who are not making a great impression with how they use LinkedIn’s message app.
The problem stems from two things:
- The default assumption the LinkedIn app makes (unless changed) that whenever someone hits the Enter / Return key, they want their message to be sent.
- The habit most of us have — hitting the Enter / Return key to go to the next line in a message or other electronic document.
The result is that people send “messages” they don’t intend to send. More than once this month, I have received three or four (sometimes more) consecutive messages from the same person:
- “Hi Susan,”
- “Can you help me with…”
- Their name
Or, the message is just one paragraph like this:
Hi Susan, I am a [job title] working for [company name], and I’m ready to move on to a new job. I read your article about [something] and found it very interesting. I would like to [do something else]. After looking at my profile and considering my background and education, do you think that’s possible for me? What do you think of my profile? Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Regards, [their name].
This makes the person sending either of these messages look rather demanding (the multiple messages), inexperienced, or not very good using technology. None of those is a good impression to leave, particularly with someone who doesn’t know you well.
Here’s how to change that!
How to Send Multi-Paragraph Messages Using LinkedIn Messaging
In the messaging app, click on the 3 dots beside the word “Send” at the bottom of the message creation box, seen below.
This will open up a small dialog box which offers you the option to choose when the app will send a message, either when you press “Enter” or when you click on the “Send” button. Choose “Click Send” as your option as in the image below.
Now you will be able to add extra blank lines in your message avoiding the multiple message problem or the one paragraph message issue. When you have finished writing your message, click on the “Send” button and LinkedIn will send one message for you.
Composing an Effective Message
LinkedIn Messaging is not a full-blown email system. It is simply messaging. So, the messages are simpler. To send a more robust message, you must use InMail, and that is reserved for the paid LinkedIn accounts. The rest of us use LinkedIn Messaging.
Assuming that you have you changed your Messaging setting as described above, these tips should help you send more effective messages inside LinkedIn:
- No subject line is available, currently, so after the salutation (“Dear whomever,”) make the first few lines of your message very interesting and on-topic for the reason you sent your message. Effectively, the first sentence is the subject in these messages.
- Usually, as with email, the best strategy is to stick to one topic per message.
- Format like a real message. Don’t use the run-on format where no salutation, paragraphs, or closing and signature is apparent.
- Don’t write long “wall of words” paragraphs. Since these are viewed in a small form, even on a large monitor, short paragraphs are better. Long complex sentences are not effective in this form.
- Bulleted lists are best to increase reader comprehension, but the format is not available, so use an asterisk and blank spaces to create a bulleted list.
- Keep the message relatively short.
- Close these messages as you would any other, with a closing (like “Regards,”) on one line and your first name on the next line.
Although you may (!) be able to send a long message via Messaging, short is best in this abreviated format.
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn.
More about this author…