5 Things To Do When Your LinkedIn Messages Are Being Ignored

I had no idea how to get a job.

I could do experiments, write papers, and give presentations, but how to get hired was a mystery to me.

I was open to any suggestions.

A few people told me to network.

Honestly, I didn’t really know what networking was, or how to do it.

But, I made a LinkedIn profile and sent out a few messages to people who worked at the companies I was interested in.

This was it — one of these people was surely going to read my message, and then offer me a job.

But, no one responded.

I felt slighted.

Why didn’t these people respond to me?

It was discouraging, and made me start to rethink getting a job in industry.

Maybe I was only qualified to do a postdoc?

But, just thinking about staying in academia and staying at the bench made me depressed.

I wanted to do something else.

So, I readjusted my focus.

I did research and learned about the strategies that PhDs use to get hired.

I created a job search plan that involved reaching out to new people every day, and following up with them regularly.

It wasn’t easy, and many of my messages went ignored.

But, it was this extensive plan that earned me my first industry position.

Why Following Up Is The Most Important Part Of Networking

Shot of a young designer working late on a laptop in an office

Networking, with the the goal of obtaining a referral, is the fastest way to get hired.

This is because industry employers value internal referrals.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management, employee referrals account for 72% of all interviews.

And, Undercover Recruiter reported that 1 out of every 5 candidates with a job referral gets hired.

Companies prefer to hire candidates with referrals.

Companies place a lot of value on referrals because ultimately, job candidates who come from referrals make better employees.

Referrals result in a higher employee retention rate — 46% versus 33% for candidates who were hired through a career site, as reported by Undercover Recruiter.

This indicates that with a referral, not only do your chances of getting hired increase, you are also more likely find a job that you are highly satisfied with.

It’s a win-win.

Achievers also reported that hiring candidates with job referrals reduces the cost of hiring someone by more than $3,000 per hire.

That is a major incentive for companies to want to hire job candidates who have referrals.

And, the only way to get a referral is to network.

5 Strategies To Follow When Your LinkedIn Messages Are Being Ignored

Successful networking requires hard work.

Networking requires research, planning, and follow-up.

But even then, many of your networking messages will be ignored.

This is just a part of how online networking functions, but there are things you can do to improve your online networking success.

Here are 5 strategies to follow when your networking messages are being ignored…

1. Don’t get discouraged.

Do not take someone ignoring your message personally.

This is especially true if you are reaching out to a cold contact (i.e. someone you don’t already know).

Even if you have written a wonderful message full of value, they still might not respond.

And, that’s okay.

If your message was short and added value to the new contact, then you didn’t do anything wrong.

People are just busy.

You are someone new who they don’t know and don’t really have a reason to respond to.

But, this doesn’t mean you should give up.

It takes more than one message to build up a connection with someone new.

2. Follow up again, and again, and again.

Writing one message is not enough.

Writing two messages is not enough.

Writing three messages is not enough.

Do you see the pattern here?

The success of networking lies in your ability to follow up with new connections consistently, regardless of whether they respond to you or not.

You should have a plan to follow up with the industry professionals you want to build relationships with every week or every other week.

But, each of the messages you send needs to add value in some way.

This level of follow-up will make you stand out and eventually, the person will probably respond.

A good idea is to message the person at the same time every week, or every other week, as this can help you build trust with that person.

If they know that every second Tuesday, you send them a message with an interesting article or other valuable information, this makes you seem reliable and can build trust.

So, even if someone doesn’t respond to your messages, you can be working toward building rapport with that connection.

3. Increase the number of people you reach out to.

How many people have you reached out to this week?

One or two?

You need to dramatically increase the number of people you are sending networking messages to.

You should reach out to at least two people per day.

By increasing the volume of connections you make, you increase the likelihood that you will make a connection that leads to a referral.

But, when increasing volume, do not decrease the quality of your networking.

Always add value.

Networking takes effort, but if you put in the work, you will get hired.

4. Focus on building a relationship — not just asking for something.

Lifestyles business concepts made in Barcelona.

Asking for something too soon is a major reason that messages are ignored and professional connections fall apart.

You must build up a relationship with someone before you ask for something.

Think about it — if you ask a stranger to give you $5, they will probably say “no”.

But, if you ask a friend to give you $5, they will probably give it to you because you have a relationship with them.

You may even have let them have $5 in the past.

This is they type of relationship you need to build up with your network.

You need to figure out a way to add enough value to your connections so that when you ask for a referral, they are willing to give it.

It’s an exchange of value.

Find people who work at your target companies, and instead of just trying to get a referral from them, try to build a relationship with them.

Send them messages regularly, ask them about their work, ask them about their hobbies, and send them interesting new articles.

Don’t just try to use people to get what you want — it won’t work.

5. Be specific when you ask for something.

Eventually, you will reach a place where you want to ask a connection for a referral.

But, you need to make what you ask them for very specific.

Don’t just say, “Hi, can you give me a referral for XYZ position?”

You need to be more specific.

What is it exactly that you want them to do?

Do you want them to look over your resume?

Do you want them to introduce you to the hiring manager via email, or via phone?

Do you want them to give your resume to the hiring manager?

Being very specific with your ask makes it seem easier to do, and will increase your chances that it will actually get done.

Be as specific as possible.

And, if you are not sure if your connection has referred you like they said they would, follow up.

But, don’t follow up by asking if they have done what you asked. Instead, follow up by adding value.

This will remind them about what you wanted and, at the same time, remind them that you are a valuable connection.

Networking on LinkedIn is an integral part of your job search. Solid networking that leads to a referral will increase your chances of getting hired. As a PhD, you have the skills to be successful in industry. But, to transition out of academia, you need to expand your network and connect with industry professionals. Trying to make new connections online means that some of your messages will be ignored. To overcome this situation, don’t get discouraged, follow up again and again, increase the number of people you reach out to, focus on building relationships, and be very specific when you ask for something.

To learn more about 5 Things To Do When Your LinkedIn Messages Are Being Ignored, including instant access to our exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, get on the wait list for the Cheeky Scientist Association.

Join Cheeky Scientist Association
Get Free Job Search Content Weekly
Jeanette McConnell, PhD
Jeanette McConnell, PhD

Jeanette is a chemistry PhD turned science communication enthusiast. During her PhD she realized that her favorite part about research wasn’t actually doing research, but rather talking and writing about it. So, she has channeled her passion for discovery into teaching and writing about science. When she isn’t talking someone’s ear off about her latest scientific obsession, you’ll find her on the soccer field or reading a good sci-fi novel.

Similar Articles

The 7 Point Plan That Took Me From Networking Novice To The Center Of Connectivity

The 7 Point Plan That Took Me From Networking Novice To The Center Of Connectivity

By: Sarah Smith, PhD

Networking was one of those things I was always doing “tomorrow.”  It was so much easier to sit down and work on my resume, or change some word choices on my LinkedIn. They were easy and they made me feel like I accomplished something. But really it was like treading water.  I tread this water for months, thinking I was moving somewhere but I was only moving with a gentle current. My actions weren’t actually propelling me in any direction. I wasn’t getting any hits on my LinkedIn, I wasn’t getting any call backs on my resume.  Was I not…

Intelligent, Powerful Salary Negotiations For PhDs In 5 Simple Steps

Intelligent, Powerful Salary Negotiations For PhDs In 5 Simple Steps

By: Sarah Smith, PhD

Contributing Author: Marios Tsatsos, PhD After my interview, I got a call from the HR department. This was the big phone call – the one about money. I had interviewed well, and the person from HR was calling to let me know he was about to meet with the hiring manager. Hopefully, he said, there would be an offer for me after they met. It was time for the negotiation.  Then he asked about salary…  I didn’t want to give the first number, so I deflected his question with a joke. It worked, and the representative mentioned the first salary…

Recessions Are Tough - 3 Ways PhDs Can Be Tougher

Recessions Are Tough - 3 Ways PhDs Can Be Tougher

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Let’s talk about frustration particularly during a recession.  I’m talking about the frustration of a rejection in your job search.  Many PhDs are experiencing this kind of frustration in their post-pandemic job search. It’s important for you to understand that Cheeky Scientist has been through this before.  Cheeky Scientist actually came out of the financial crash of 2008 when we were in a recession.  I can tell you firsthand that the mood of the public changes during a recession.  There are fewer jobs.  There’s a greater sense of urgency.  This causes people to get more rejections. And rejection leads to…

5 Smart Moves PhDs Can Make At A Networking Event

5 Smart Moves PhDs Can Make At A Networking Event

By: Sarah Smith, PhD

LinkedIn is an excellent resource for networking, and it makes the whole process easier than ever before. But LinkedIn should not be the only place you are meeting industry professionals. You need to attend in-person networking events too. Meeting in person allows someone to get to know you at a far more significant level than the internet alone will allow. The amount of rapport and relationship-building that can occur during a 10-minute, in-person interaction could take months if attempted over the internet. There is no substitute for face-to-face networking – it’s what we as a species have evolved to do.…

Follow These 5 Resume Rules For A Successful Job Search

Follow These 5 Resume Rules For A Successful Job Search

By: Aditya Sharma, PhD

Are you submitting your resume to online job postings? You might be surprised to learn that your resume is never even seen by a human being. 98% of Fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking software, according to Jobscan. Large-size firms (those that employ more than 500 individuals) receive many thousands of resumes every week. The only way their hiring departments can be functional is by using tracking software to weed out unqualified candidates. This puts applicants in kind of a tough spot - optimize your resume to get through the tracking software or get used to rejection. Even highly qualified…

3 Secrets To Networking That Don’t Involve Meeting People

3 Secrets To Networking That Don’t Involve Meeting People

By: Aditya Sharma, PhD

If you underestimate the power of networking, you’re going to make things really hard for yourself. Are you exclusively relying on applications and resumes? If you are, that’s called putting all your eggs in one basket. Don’t do that. Lou Adler, CEO of Performance-Based Hiring Learning Systems, reports that 85% of jobs are filled by networking. This isn’t surprising when you consider that networking is the only way to get referrals. According to Undercover Recruiter, only 7% of job applicants get referrals — but those who do get referrals account for 40% of those who get hired. By the time…

5 Common Phrases PhDs Say That Will Ruin Informational Interviews

5 Common Phrases PhDs Say That Will Ruin Informational Interviews

By: Jeanette McConnell, PhD

You know that you need to network. You’ve heard of informational interviews and want to try them out. But what if you say the wrong thing? What if you put in all this time meeting someone, talking to them, following up with them and the connection leads to nothing? Here are 5 things that you should not say while networking at an informational interview.

Get Hired Without Submitting a Resume - 5 Networking Strategies For PhDs

Get Hired Without Submitting a Resume - 5 Networking Strategies For PhDs

By: Surayya Taranum

Networking is the only foolproof method for PhDs wanting to transition into an industry career. Learn the 5 effective networking strategies that give you an edge in the job market.

How I Got Hired Right After I Had A Baby - Tips For PhDs Job Search Strategy As A New Parent

How I Got Hired Right After I Had A Baby - Tips For PhDs Job Search Strategy As A New Parent

By: Mansi Khanna, PhD

The ideal time to start focusing on your job search is now. No matter if you have just started your PhD or if you are unemployed and want a job ASAP, the best thing you can do it start now. Balance Careers reported that roughly it takes one month to find a job for every $10,000 of the paycheck you would like to earn. So, as a PhD if you want to earn $90,000 per year, your job search could take about 9 months. BUT this is an estimate. Depending on the effort your put in and any networking efforts…

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.