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LinkedIn Networking

Updated: Mar 19

Are you currently using the power of LinkedIn Networking?

Reaching out to people who have already achieved what you want to achieve professionally is a great way to get advice and build your personal network. And what better place to do it then LinkedIn?


However, from my personal LinkedIn inbox, I see a lot of students making the same mistakes.

Here are the most important rules to follow:

  • Send a Connection Requestion: First, you need to send the person that you want to speak with a connection request. If you skip this step, then you either won't be able to send that person a message at all or your message will land in the "inbox request" folder that no one ever checks. So be sure to send a connection request first!

  • Warm Outreach: LinkedIn gives you the benefit of seeing your mutual connections. Whenever you have someone who is connected to the person that you want to network with, ask that person whether they can introduce you. Being introduced will skyrocket your response rate!

  • Alma Mater: Professionals working in investment banking and private equity are extremely busy and at the same time get a lot of cold requests from all kind of students to have a quick chat. So how do you think these professionals will prioritize the flood of requests they get? Of course, they will focus on students that also studied at their university! This means that your response rate is going to be much higher if you focus on graduates from your alma mater.

    • For Non-Targets: in case you study at a non-target and there are few if any graduates from your university in investment banking or private equity, then search specifically for people who made it into the industry from other non-target schools and be sure to highlight this in your mail to them.

  • Other Commonalities: If you want to further increase your response rate, focus on any other commonalities such as gender, ethnic background, hobbies, university majors, home town, etc.

  • Questions: In your cold outreach, already include some of the questions that you want to ask that person. The reason for this is simple: I've been on networking calls with students that just asked me very basic questions like "what does your company do?" or "what are deals that your team has worked on?". These questions are quite frankly a waste of time because you can just google the answer! So, to avoid being on another call with someone that is just going to ask me basic questions, I like to see students include some specific questions in their outreach. It's best if these questions are specific to the person you are writing to. For example:

    • "I saw that you did a gap year between bachelor and master, I'm curious to see what your experience was and whether you would recommend it to me as well?"

    • "I saw that you did your master in finance at the University of St.Gallen. I'm considering the same move and was wondering whether you could answer a few questions for me."

  • Call to Action: Have a clear call to action by, for example, asking to speak with them on the phone for 15min.

  • Double Texting: If someone doesn't reply to your outreach within a week, you can give them 1 nudge by saying something along the lines of 'I understand that you are very busy so I just wanted to check again whether we can have a quick chat on the phone. I would very much appreciate your time and can accommodate to your calendar'.

    • If the person doesn't answer to your second message, leave them alone. There is no point spamming them and sending yet another message.

  • LinkedIn Profile: It should be a given that you filled out your LinkedIn profile.



Here is an example of what a good cold outreach looks like:


Hello [Insert Name],


I'm currently pursuing my Master's in Banking and Finance at the University of St.Gallen and came across your profile on LinkedIn. It's inspiring to see a fellow HSG alumnus at J.P. Morgan! I wonder if you might have 15 minutes for a brief conversation? I'm keen to learn more about your journey into J.P. Morgan, the firm's culture, and any advice you might have for someone like me.


Best regards,

[Your Name]

If you follow the above steps, you should see a response rate of anywhere between 10-50%; out of those roughly 50% will engage to have a quick chat with you.


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