How to Cold Message on LinkedIn – Easy Way to Get Responses

February 25, 2023

Have you ever sent a cold message on LinkedIn to a senior executive? Did you get a reply? Don’t you wish you knew the right way to message senior executives on LinkedIn?

Sending cold messages to get no response can be disheartening. But, there are a few ways that you can increase your open and response rate by adjusting the methods that you use.

How to Cold Message Senior Executives on LinkedIn

Last Friday night, I was having dinner with an old secondary school buddy, James. He’s a vice president at a multi-billion dollar private equity fund. It’s an extremely sought after job.

Because the industry is so competitive, it’s impossible to get your application through the HR front door. You need to network your way in.

Unfortunately everyone is in on this open secret. Everyone is try to network their way in. This means that high ranking people like James get a ton of cold messages on LinkedIn from jobseekers.

90% of the messages are complete strangers asking to meet James for coffee, right off the bat!

James of course, ignores every single one of those messages. He’s a busy senior executive at a fund. His workload is heavy enough as it is. He doesn’t have time to entertain coffee chats from complete strangers.

So I asked James – what’s the best way to get the attention of someone like him on LinkedIn?

His answer? Ask thoughtful questions.

You see, senior people like James love coaching young executives. Mentoring is a very fulfilling role. It’s like raising a child.

James says he loves it when he gets smart questions from jobseekers who’ve obviously done their homework.

An example – Show Insight

One example was for a real estate deal James’ fund completed. The price they paid was about 20% below market value, despite there being many other bidders for the asset.

A young associate, at another fund, cold messaged James asking about the deal. He recognised that the deal was undervalued, and asked if they included a special sell on clause, similar to some other deal recently done by James’ head company in New York.

Funnily enough, that was exactly the structure James’ fund used in this deal. He was impressed by the insight of this young associate. They exchanged a few more thoughtful back and forth messages.

With each message, James grew more and more impressed by the intelligence of this associate, and how much homework he was doing on his own. He was obviously committed to being the best in his industry.

A few weeks later, James met this associate for coffee. They hit it off and soon after, James made an offer for this associate to join his company.

That is a textbook example of how to network your way into a highly sought after company.

Step 1: Identify your target

When it comes to LinkedIn cold messages, making sure you’re speaking to the right person is paramount. This could be a mutual connection, or if you’re looking for new clients, it could be someone completely random.

Find your target executive. Ideally this will be a key decision maker within the company. Once you’ve found the right connection, get their email address.

Step 2: Do Your Research

Research the firm that the executive works at before doing anything. This is necessary because primarily is saves both you and the executive time from making a meaningless connection, but you also want to learn about their company beforehand anyway.

Compare them to other firms in their industry. Why is this firm more successful? And what can I offer them that they already don’t have?

Step 3: Send them a message

The initial contact is the hardest part, and effective cold messages aren’t that common. Though, cold messages in general will fill up the executives direct messages, so you need to find a way to stand out.

Come up with thoughtful questions and cold message your target key decision maker. An example of a message you could send is something like;

“Hello [executive name], I’ve read your recent post on [topic] and I was very intrigued with your perspective on [specific point]. I found it particularly interesting because [add a personal connection or experience here, if applicable].

Why do you think that [topic] is the case? I would love to connect with you and learn more about your experience and insights on [industry/topic]. Thank you for taking the time to read my message, and I look forward to connecting with you.”

You can adjust this template to your own scenario, but trying to build connections based around a question or post that the contact has written is better than blind cold messaging someone with no prior research done.

Step 4: Build a Rapport

If you get a reply, try to keep the conversation going. Try to find some common ground between the two of you that you can bond over and use to further the connection on a genuine level.

Continue to engage them with insightful questions. Identify the pain point in their business and analyse how you can solve it for them.

Step 5: Meet face to face

If you can, try and get a meeting in person. Though some executives will avoid this, it can be a great way to really connect with someone. Meet them for coffee. Try to leave a good impression. Hopefully you’ll get a job offer.

The job market today is filled with so much noise. They are more talented candidates than ever before, and yet, it’s harder than ever to find the right ones.

Thoughtful networking is my latest trick in getting my clients job offers to roles they could only previously dream of!


Cold messaging on LinkedIn is all about making genuine connections with others on the platform. It’s much easier to sell something (or sell yourself) after building rapport with the other person.

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends who are currently job hunting. Everyone should learn the right way to network.

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Harry Suresh
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