Every morning at the Mulberry office consists of a few key things: checking our email inboxes, forming a socially-distanced (#pandemic) line at the Nespresso machine, and logging in to LinkedIn to see what’s new. As recruiters, LinkedIn is one of our most powerful tools and we believe it’s just as valuable for job seekers. Today, we’d like to share our best practices for how to engage and connect on LinkedIn.

Responding to InMails:

There are two types of LinkedIn recruiter InMails and we’ve likely received both kinds at some point in our career. The first is an obviously spam-like message for a role that has nothing to do with your experience or skills. Go on ahead and ignore or decline those.

The second type of message is one we’d recommend that you pay more attention to. It comes from a recruiter or hiring manager who has searched for a unique skillset like yours. While working to fill a job opening, they’ve combed through hundreds of profiles and landed at yours. You receive a message that has been crafted just for you, that mentions your specific work experience, or a shared background, skill, or interest.

Here are a few ways you can respond:

  1. Decline the message. Maybe you’re not looking at the moment, or you’re not interested in that particular job opportunity. The recruiter/hiring manager simply receives a decline. Let’s call this a dead-end message.
  2. Accept the message and respond with “I’m not interested” or “Interested. Send more details including salary, benefits, etc.”. This may be an acceptable response, but doesn’t necessarily inspire further connection.
  3. Craft a simple, thoughtful message in response. Here are two samples:

Dear {Insert Name},

Thank you so much for thinking of me. I hope you enjoyed your time at the University of Oregon as much as I did. Go ducks!  I’m not currently looking at the moment, but I’m glad that we’ve connected. I’ll share this opportunity with a few of my former colleagues who might be interested. Best of luck to you and please keep me in mind for future opportunities!

{Your Name}

Dear {Insert Name},

Thank you for sharing this job opportunity! I am very interested in learning more about the role and your organization. Would there be a good time for us to connect this week? I’ve attached my resume and look forward to hearing from you.

{Your Name}

Which option seems most appropriate to you? We’d go with option 3 and here’s why. Every opportunity to connect is valuable and can lead to places. Even if you’re not looking at the moment, or maybe this particular job doesn’t interest you, it’s still important to create connections for your career. Receiving kind and thoughtful messages, even if they’re polite declines, inspires future connection.  After all, what’s the harm in being kind and connected? Growing and nurturing your network will be key to the success of your career, and this includes adding the human touch back to your communications on LinkedIn.

Sending Connection Requests:

As Recruiters, we send and receive hundreds of connection requests each year. When you’re sending a LinkedIn connection request, you have two options. The first is to simply send the connection request and click “done”. The second option is to add a short, personalized note to the connection request. We always recommend adding a note, as it makes your request stand out and allows for the two of you to connect on a more impactful level. Here are some examples:

Dear {Insert Name},

It’s a pleasure to connect with you here on LinkedIn! I attended your workshop with PHRMA last month and found it to be incredibly informative. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I look forward to connecting further.

Wishing you a good week!

{Your Name}

Dear {Insert Name},

Thank you for connecting with me here on LinkedIn! I work with {Insert Name} at {Insert Company Name} and they suggested that I should reach out to you. I am very interested in joining your organization and would love the opportunity to connect with you. Would you have time for a Zoom chat in the next couple weeks? I look forward to hearing from you!

{Your Name}

Connect and Engage:

Now that you’re continuing to build your network on LinkedIn, it’s important to nurture and engage your connections. The success of LinkedIn is built on how we contribute, both by sharing our knowledge in posts and by engaging with others. Have you read an article that changed how you think or work? Share it with your network! Did you implement a change at work that was met with great success? Write a post and share it with your network! On the flip side, be sure to engage with your connections by liking and commenting on posts that they share.

LinkedIn makes it easy for you to continually connect with your network, by sharing work anniversaries, new jobs, and birthdays. Pay attention to these and send short messages whenever time allows. These little notes are an easy way to engage and a nice way to brighten someone’s day.

LinkedIn is as powerful a tool as you make it. By growing your network, sharing your knowledge, and continuing to nurture your connections, LinkedIn is sure to be a contributing factor in the success of your career. Start your new, or renewed, LinkedIn journey by following and connecting with us here!