Top 10 Reasons Your LinkedIn Messages Are Being Ignored

I set a goal to connect with two new people a day on LinkedIn.

This was my entire job search strategy…

Get on LinkedIn.

Find someone who worked for Baxter, Pfizer, Amgen or similar.

Click the blue connect button.

Repeat once.

Go back to writing my thesis.

The end.

It was a bad strategy.

No one accepted my connection requests.

Literally no one.

I remember refreshing my screen at the end of every day hoping to see some new connections.

I thought that someone was wrong with my account.

I even sent an email to LinkedIn’s customer service department.

They told me my account was fine.

How embarrassing.

I’m sure the person who wrote the email back to me was like…

You’re an overeducated loser with no common sense who is never going to get a PhD job.

Fair assessment.

A few months later…

I decided to crank it up a notch.

I decided to start writing personal messages to people instead of just clicking the connect button and sending off the default message.

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

Yeah…

No one answers those messages.

But surely they’d answer my personal message if I took the time to fully explain who I am, what kind of job I wanted, and how they could help me.

Wrong.

I still got not responses.

Okay, well…

I got one response.

One person replied back to me asking how we met.

Umm…

We didn’t meet.

I didn’t know what to say so I explained to him that I was a PhD student looking for a job in industry. I told him about all the skills I had and then asked him for any advice he might have.

Three paragraphs.

21 sentences.

That’s how long my message to him was.

His response…

Zero paragraphs.

Zero sentences.

He didn’t respond.

What was I doing wrong?

Why LinkedIn Matters

Two new people sign up to LinkedIn every second.

Every. Second.

This is according to LinkedIn’s Q1 2014 earnings report.

A similar report showed that LinkedIn now has over 347 million users total.

And…

A report by Social Times shows that 94% of recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to vet job candidates.

Only 65% use Facebook and only 55% use Twitter.

What does this mean?

It means that LinkedIn is your best chance of making a good first impression online.

It also means that the competition is growing fast.

It’s getting harder and harder to get noticed.

Connecting With Someone Is A Negotiation

Connecting with someone is a negotiation.

You’re trading value for value.

The reason people aren’t connecting with you is because you’re approaching them from a position of need.

You’re approaching them from a position is weakness.

Nobody respects weakness.

Hiring managers, recruiters, and working professionals in general are not running a charity.

They’re running businesses.

They’re managing careers.

Time is money.

Attention is money.

Why should anyone give you their money?

Because you need it?

So what.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that people owe you their time and attention just because you need it.

Need doesn’t matter.

Value does.

Stop connecting with people from a position of weakness.

Stop asking “What do I need?” and start asking “What value can I give?

PhD Messages LinkedIn

10 Reasons You’re Being Ignored

The first step to correcting a problem is identifying why it’s happening.

Once you know why you’re getting a negative result, you can try something new.

You can implement a better strategy.

If that strategy fails too…

Keep testing.

Test and tweak until your messages are being opened every time.

Here are 10 reasons why your messages are being ignored…

1. You don’t know anyone.

Blindly reaching out to people who you’ve never met is a waste of time.

They don’t know you.

They don’t care about you.

But…

They might care about someone else.

Dig in and see if the people you want to connect with know someone you know.

Don’t just stare at those little 2nd and 3rd LinkedIn connection icons that appear next to people’s names when you’re searching and do nothing.

Wake up.

Click the “shared connection” link.

See who you and your desired connection both know.

Then…

Ask your shared connection for an introduction.

Or, ask to use their name as a connection request reference.

Once you get the okay, reach out to your desired connection using the name of your shared connection in the subject line of your message.

2. You don’t say why you’re connecting.

Never send a message without using the word “because.”

When it comes to connecting with someone new, intent is not enough.

What doesn’t matter.

Why does.

Why are you reaching out?

Why do you want to connect?

The reason you’re connecting should be explained in the very first sentence of your message.

Most importantly…

This reason needs to be to the other person’s benefit, not yours.

3. You don’t care about them.

LinkedIn is a crowded place.

The world is a crowded place.

Everyone is fighting for attention.

As a result…

People are on defense now.

More than ever before, people are actively protecting their attention.

This means that when you send a message to someone, they are looking for reasons to ignore it.

They are looking for reasons to delete it without reading it.

You have to give them a reason not to delete it.

News flash…

You are not a good reason.

Remember, they want to delete you.

The best way to get people to open and respond to your messages is to make the message all about them.

People don’t want to delete themselves.

They want to read about themselves.

Give them something to read.

Do your research.

Find out what they like. What they’ve written about. What their hobbies are.

Stalk them…

In a good way.

Read everything you can about them. Comment on their articles. Find out who else their connected to on LinkedIn. Find out who their colleagues are on LinkedIn.

Get to know them.

Make an effort.

Care.

Then use what you know to make an emotional connection.

Bring up something they’ve written, achieved, accomplished, completed…

As long as it’s about them.

4. You write too much.

Limit your messages to 50 words.

That’s it.

Not a single word more.

Imagine a stranger coming into your office and sitting down next to you at your desk while you’re working.

The stranger starts talking about himself, his hopes, his dreams, and all of his little career goals.

He talks and talks and talks…

15 minutes go by.

How annoyed would you be?

My guess…

Very.

But this is exactly what most PhDs do when they reach out to other professionals on LinkedIn.

They send five paragraph essays talking about themselves and then act surprised when the other person never responds.

Stop writing novels.

Your first LinkedIn message to someone should not be the same length (and density) as the Introduction section of the last peer-reviewed paper you authored.

Tighten it up.

Keep it short.

Keep it simple.

50 words.

No more.

5. You don’t ask any questions.

If you want a response, ask a question.

Too many PhDs think that writing a message to someone entitles them to a response.

Really?

People should help you just because you wrote a message asking for help?

How arrogant are you?

Listen…

No one owes you a response.

You have to earn a response.

You have to ask for a response.

6. You don’t use a P.S.

Every message you send to someone new on LinkedIn should have a P.S.

This P.S. should include a question.

P.S. is short for Post Script, which is an additional remark placed at the end of a message.

Depending on the statistics you look at…

A P.S. in a message gets read more than every other part of the message except for the subject line.

P.S. I see that you’ve been to Hawaii. I’ve always wanted to go. Which island did you visit?

P.S. You mention in your profile that you study protein degradation. Which proteins have you studied?

P.S. You wrote an article on NF-κB signaling. I did my thesis work on this. Have you read any good reviews lately?

This is how your messages should be ending.

Ask a question.

Show you care.

Make it about them, not you.

7. You’re needy.

People respond to value, not need.

The main reason no one is responding to your messages is because you aren’t offering any value.

You’re asking for help.

You’re selling yourself.

And it’s obvious.

Stop being so obvious.

Stop blatantly begging for a handout.

Your first message to a desired connection on LinkedIn should have no indication that you’re searching for a job.

The same goes for your second, third, and fourth messages.

No indication.

Get it?

Instead, you should be offering value and asking friendly questions.

Show the other person that you’re in this for the longterm.

Show them that you care about the relationship.

Yes, this takes more time.

But it’s worth it.

You might be thinking…

But I don’t have anything to offer?

Not true.

You have plenty to offer.

You can give them praise and validation for their work.

You can send them links to articles they might enjoy.

You can connect them with other people (this is a very smart, high-level strategy that very few PhDs do).

Real connections are not made by taking.

They’re made by giving, giving, giving, and giving some more.

8. Your profile is awful.

How would you react if someone came up to you on the street with a paper bag over their head and started talking to you?

You’d be scared for your life.

You wouldn’t interact with them.

You wouldn’t help them get a job.

You’d run.

Yet, this what many PhDs do on LinkedIn.

They post a scary, unprofessional photo of themselves and think “Good enough.”

Or, worse…

They don’t post a profile picture at all.

Start spending some quality time with your LinkedIn profile.

Post a professional picture.

Post a professional headline.

Fill in your experience and education details.

Take the brown bag off.

9. Your subject line is awful.

Clever, general, and ambiguous message subject lines get deleted

Simple, specific, and personal subject lines get opened.

If possible, drop a mutual connections name in the subject line.

Otherwise…

Write something that’s specifically related to the other person’s interests.

Also…

Keep it short.

Use 5 words or less.

If it’s your first message, tag the words “quick note” or “quick follow-up” at the end of the subject line.

10. You contribute nothing.

Who are you?

How do I know you?

What do you want?

These are the first three questions people are going to ask themselves when they see a message from you in their inbox.

The sooner you answer these questions, the better.

Here’s the key…

You can answer all three questions before you send someone your first message.

How?

By engaging on LinkedIn.

You can “like” and comment on people’s posts. You can share articles. You can contribute to group discussion threads. You can even write your own posts.

You don’t have to limit yourself to LinkedIn either. You can engage professionally on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms too.

You can join exclusive groups and training programs.

You can create your own website using your name as the URL and then post your industry résumé or CV to it.

The list goes on and on.

See and be seen.

Keep yourself at the top of people’s minds and on the tip of their tongues.

The more people see you engaging, the more likely they are to connect and respond to your messages.

Honest engagement builds trust.

Start building trust.

Start engaging.

To learn more about transitioning into industry, including instant access to our exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, join the Cheeky Scientist Association.

Join Cheeky Scientist Association
Get Free Job Search Content Weekly
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD Chief Executive Officer at Cheeky Scientist

Isaiah Hankel holds a PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology. An expert in the biotechnology industry, he specializes in helping other PhDs transition into cutting-edge industry career tracks.

Isaiah believes--from personal experience--that if you feel stuck somewhere in your life, it’s a clear sign that you need to make a change. Don’t sit still and wait for the world to tell you what to do. Start a new project. Build your own business. Take action. Experimentation is the best teacher.

Isaiah is an internationally recognized Fortune 500 consultant, CEO of Cheeky Scientist, and author of the straight-talk bestsellers Black Hole Focus and The Science of Intelligent Achievement.

Similar Articles

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, July 24th 2021

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, July 24th 2021

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Every week, we at Cheeky Scientist scour the Internet for the best articles on topics that help in the search for the Best of Transition: PhD Job Search in the industry. Our two consultants independently search for the most informative articles in the categories of networking, CVs/resumes, interviews, transferable skills, academic blues, industry positions, and business acumen. Our consultants vote on a top article for each category and a top overall article for the week – if it’s a recent article that can help readers find and acquire PhD jobs, then we want to include it in this weekly digest.…

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, July 17th 2021

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, July 17th 2021

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Every week, we at Cheeky Scientist scour the Internet for the best articles on topics that help in the search for the Best of Transition: PhD Job Search in the industry. Our two consultants independently search for the most informative articles in the categories of networking, CVs/resumes, interviews, transferable skills, academic blues, industry positions, and business acumen. Our consultants vote on a top article for each category and a top overall article for the week – if it’s a recent article that can help readers find and acquire PhD jobs, then we want to include it in this weekly digest.…

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, July 10th 2021

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, July 10th 2021

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Every week, we at Cheeky Scientist scour the Internet for the best articles on topics that help in the search for the Best of Transition: PhD Job Search in the industry. Our two consultants independently search for the most informative articles in the categories of networking, CVs/resumes, interviews, transferable skills, academic blues, industry positions, and business acumen. Our consultants vote on a top article for each category and a top overall article for the week – if it’s a recent article that can help readers find and acquire PhD jobs, then we want to include it in this weekly digest.…

The

The "From Scratch" Method Of Setting Up A Successful Job Search Strategy (5 Steps You Can’t Miss)

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

I am working on my job search strategy.  Just last week, I sent over 10 CVs through job portals. I hear this from PhDs all the time. They don’t know what a PhD-level job search actually looks like, so they send a bunch of resumes or LinkedIn requests and expect to see results. The thing is, that strategy will take them nowhere.  It isn’t even a strategy. Recently one of our members noticed why uploading resumes online, not only is not a strategy, but is a waste of time.  “I have been following CSA strategies a lot, but today I…

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, July 3rd 2021

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, July 3rd 2021

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Every week, we at Cheeky Scientist scour the Internet for the best articles on topics that help in the search for the Best of Transition: PhD Job Search in the industry. Our two consultants independently search for the most informative articles in the categories of networking, CVs/resumes, interviews, transferable skills, academic blues, industry positions, and business acumen. Our consultants vote on a top article for each category and a top overall article for the week – if it’s a recent article that can help readers find and acquire PhD jobs, then we want to include it in this weekly digest.…

PhD Student? Here’s How To Get A Job Offer Before Graduation

PhD Student? Here’s How To Get A Job Offer Before Graduation

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Graduate …then get a job? Why must it be sequential? How can I do both at the same time?  When should I start my job search? If I’m a PhD student, what should I be doing? How can I avoid the most common fate of ending up unemployed after I defend? Should I start my job search before or after I defend? We have come across several PhD students who had the same questions. And the answer is: you can have both. You can graduate from your PhD with a job lined-up and avoid unemployment. But to achieve that, you…

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, June 26th 2021

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, June 26th 2021

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Every week, we at Cheeky Scientist scour the Internet for the best articles on topics that help in the search for the Best of Transition: PhD Job Search in the industry. Our two consultants independently search for the most informative articles in the categories of networking, CVs/resumes, interviews, transferable skills, academic blues, industry positions, and business acumen. Our consultants vote on a top article for each category and a top overall article for the week – if it’s a recent article that can help readers find and acquire PhD jobs, then we want to include it in this weekly digest.…

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, June 19th 2021

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, June 19th 2021

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Every week, we at Cheeky Scientist scour the Internet for the best articles on topics that help in the search for the Best of Transition: PhD Job Search in the industry. Our two consultants independently search for the most informative articles in the categories of networking, CVs/resumes, interviews, transferable skills, academic blues, industry positions, and business acumen. Our consultants vote on a top article for each category and a top overall article for the week – if it’s a recent article that can help readers find and acquire PhD jobs, then we want to include it in this weekly digest.…

The

The "I Need A Job Yesterday" Strategy For Getting Hired (14 Steps)

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

“When do you need to get hired?” I asked.  “Yesterday.” Sarah replied quickly.  “Got it …What have you done so far?”  That’s when Sarah got quiet. Why? Like most PhDs, Sarah had done very little in terms of her job search.  Sure, Sarah thought about her job search a lot. She played out different scenarios in her head. But when it came to taking action …she was empty handed.  Now, she was working for free for her PI and scrambling to find a job that would pay her. You see, Sarah had just defended her thesis but spent not time…

Top Industry Career eBooks

Complete LinkedIn Guide For PhDs

Complete LinkedIn Guide For PhDs

Isaiah Hankel

The LinkedIn tips & strategies within have helped PhDs from every background get hired into top industry careers.

20 Most Popular Industry Career Tracks For PhDs

20 Most Popular Industry Career Tracks For PhDs

Isaiah Hankel, PhD & Arunodoy Sur, PhD

Learn about the top 20 industry careers for PhDs (regardless of your academic background). In this eBook, you will gain insight into the most popular, highest-paying jobs for PhDs – all of which will allow you to do meaningful work AND get paid well for it.

Industry Resume Guide for PhDs

Industry Resume Guide for PhDs

Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Learn how to craft the perfect industry resume to attract employers. In this eBook for PhDs, you will get access to proven resume templates, learn how to structure your bullet points, and discover which keywords industry employers want to see most on PhD resumes.