LinkedIn and cover letters


Cover letters (Or LinkedIn In mail) are not an area we have spent much time discussing at Career Brander.

However, to be successful at professional networking this is a critical area.  How you professionally convey your message, in as few words as possible, is of the utmost importance.

Below is a recent correspondence I received on LinkedIn and felt compelled to respond to the sender.  I think this is relevant because I am not an open networker (LION), I generally do not respond to LinkedIn Group In Mails, and I receive requests for career networking assistance almost on a daily basis.

You will see I broke the request down into six sections for analysis purposes.

Dear XXX,

  1. I read with great interest your profile on LinkedIn. You have built a highly impressive career, particularly in an area I am most passionate about –____________.
  2. I also see that we are connected via Bob Smith and Larry Jones, two professionals I have the utmost respect for.
  3. In brief, I have built, transformed and led global sales organizations in the _________sectors for 15+ years.  I was __________ of Global Sales at________, which we sold to ______for_$_______. More recently, I was _____ at ___________which we sold to_______. in 2009 for $ _____.
  4. I am based in the_________ area and am presently meeting with business leaders, investors and relevant professionals in the information space. For this reason, I write to you.
  5. I was hoping you had a couple of minutes to meet for coffee or a quick chat? I would certainly make myself available to your schedule.
  6. Thank you and I do hope to have the pleasure to meet you.Regards,

Sentence 1 – Immediately plays to my ego and creates a “job functional” relationship by matching his most passionate comment to something core to my LinkedIn Profile.

Sentence 2 – Personalizes the message, almost to the degree of being a referral by our common connections. In reality, I have no idea how well they know Bob Smith or Larry Jones or if Bob and Larry would recommend this individual.  However, for the job candidates networking this is not relevant and they have not crossed the line of hyperbola or using someone’s name without permission.

Sentence 3 – A 3 sentence elevator pitch. Here are things a reader can quickly glean.

  • What the candidate does functionally.
  • Who they have done it for. (domain expertise)
  • High level experience metric derived by title and timing
  • Metrics on scale that speaks on some level to organizational and personal achievements/success

Sentence 4The Purpose– I am local to you and wish to meet.

Sentence 5- The Ask- I small piece of your time, at your convenience for just a quick chat or coffee. (I will come to you.)

Sentence 6- A polite, professional thank you.

I am not suggesting, this is the best or only successful structure.  Nor am I  suggesting the note cannot be improved upon.  I am only stating it was compelling enough to me, that I actually ended up having a 20 minute phone conversation.  This is not something I would normally do.

Interestingly after we spoke,  he then followed up again with a LinkedIn  connect request.  When I got the 2nd request I started wondering about the cascading effect of emails that my connections might receive like the one above. This is a pretty powerful networking concept for a job seeker.


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