Monday, August 24, 2009

Sending Email to Your LinkedIn Connections

This morning I learned of a new tip about LinkedIn that I wasn't aware of - the ability to export your LinkedIn Connections into a .CSV file (or .VCF file) so they can be imported into your email address book.

The reason I even started investigating this was that I'd heard of a guy who'd gotten an interview by sending an email to all his LinkedIn Connections letting them know that he was searching for his next opportunity and giving them some insights into what he was looking for.

Now, if you're going to do this, you definitely want to tread carefully and make sure your email is worded very respectfully, as his was. The last thing you want is to be labeled as a spammer or you may find yourself permanently kicked off of LinkedIn. But I wasn't even sure how he was able to do this. LinkedIn is very sensitive about preventing anything that might be perceived as spam going out, so I've never seen the ability to send email to all your connections before. I sent him an email asking him how he was able to do this and I'm still waiting on his response, but meanwhile, I started doing my own investigation, and found this ability to export your LinkedIn Connections. You can even filter them by location or industry first if you have a targeted message you want to send. (And in my opinion, when it comes to job search, the more targeted the better. "I'll do anything" is not the right message! You may be desperate, but don't advertise it!)

Once you have a .CSV file, you can import into an email address book. For example, I went to Yahoo! Mail to import the email addresses. This proved a little more cumbersome than it should have been. I couldn't find the option to import a .CSV file in Yahoo! Mail's new version, but when I went to Classic Mail I found it quite easily.

Now I have my LinkedIn connections safely backed up in a .CSV file as well as in an email address book.

As for sending an email to all your connections? worked for him. I'd probably stick to updating your status on your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter first, and keep the mass emails to a minimum, especially to your LinkedIn connections. If people start misusing this, LinkedIn might take away the option to export email addresses, so please be respectful and careful about how you use this! One more reminder: If you do send a mass email of any kind (LinkedIn connections or otherwise) always .bcc your distribution list!

So...message here is: Back up your LinkedIn email addresses and use them wisely! Target your job search messages...the more personal* the better.

*By personal email, I mean sending it directly to one person rather than everyone in your email address book, using their first name, maybe remind them how you're connected, etc. I'm not suggesting "personal" as in "you look very pretty." Speaking of that, however, I did, oddly, receive a LinkedIn email the other day from someone I didn't know that told me I was "beautiful." This is inappropriate on LinkedIn (though I still connected with him.) For future reference, however, the appropriate place to tell me I'm beautiful is on FaceBook!

PS. I did get an update that the guy did use the export option from LinkedIn and then imported into Outlook.

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