Networking – LinkedIn Outreach Process

What does the networking outreach process look like?

Let me illustrate how LinkedIn outreach works below. Reaching out via email is very similar in terms of the process, and is a great tool for identifying a professional’s work email when you have the full name (see the screenshot below).

Let us say that you came across John Smith, an Investment Banking Associate – Mining at TD Securities on LinkedIn and you want to connect with him.

First, you want to review his LinkedIn profile carefully and make a mental note of anything interesting or unique. For example, he majored in History at the University of Toronto and he used to work at TD as a Teller.

Then, you customize your invitation with a personal note – keep it concise and to the point.

Below is an example:

Hi John,

I came across your profile while researching UofT alumni working at TD Securities. Inspired by your career journey from Retail Banking to Investment Banking, I’d love to connect with you to learn more.

Thanks, [Your Name]

If he accepts your invitation, then send a follow-up message with a CTA (call to action) between 24-48 business hours (side note: follow up within 2 hours after connecting can come across a bit desperate).

Below is an example (assume it’s sent on Monday, Oct. 14):

Hi John,

Thanks a lot for connecting. I’d love to learn more about how you transitioned from Retail Banking to Investment Banking and your current experience on the Mining team at TD.

Do you have 15 mins for a quick coffee (my treat) at 2 pm EST either next Wednesday (Oct. 23) or Thursday (Oct. 24)? We can meet at the Starbucks on 66 Wellington St W.

Thanks, [Your Name]

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Keep the message short – no one enjoys reading a lengthy LinkedIn message from a semi stranger

  • Make your ask small – people are more likely to agree to meet with a semi stranger for 15 mins than 30 mins

  • Offer to buy the coffee – 15 mins of John’s time is easily worth $25 (assuming an hourly rate of $100) and a cup of coffee is 10% of that.

  • Propose two specific times – it is much easier for John to look at his calendar and see if he is free at 2 pm next Wednesday or Thursday than reply to “let me know when you are free next week”.

  • Pick a spot convenient to John – figure out where John’s office is and find a Starbucks closest to it.

If John does not get back to you, give it a week and then follow up, don’t be too desperate and pushy.

Below is an example (assume it’s sent on Monday, Oct. 21):

Hi John,

Just following up on my message from last Monday – let me know if you are free at 2 pm EST this Wednesday (Oct. 23) or Thursday (Oct. 24). I look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks, [Your Name]

If still no reply from John, give it another week and then follow up for the last time.

Below is an example (assume it’s sent on Monday, Oct. 28):

Hi John,

We did not get to connect last week – I am going to assume you were busy with work, which I fully understand. If your schedule slows down a bit in November, just get in touch. Have a great week.

Best, [Your Name]

You are better off leaving John alone if he still does not get back to you after three messages since connected.

Here is why:

  • He is too busy to meet you – in which case, following up again will not change this.

  • He does not want to meet you – in which case, following up repeatedly will only annoy him more.

  • The most important reason: the ROI of your time is much higher trying to connect with others – there are many professionals out there, learn to not take it personally and move on. A lot of things in life are just out of your control. It only matters that you give your best efforts and have no regrets.


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