The internet has helped us become more connected than ever before in history. Platforms like LinkedIn allow people to connect with seasoned professionals, colleagues, and peers. Recent college graduates will often find themselves connecting with professionals in their field to land a job or learn something valuable for their future and career.

It’s smart and ambitious to approach someone with experience and ask them for advice. That said, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this. Be respectful of people’s time and use language appropriate for each individual. Sending a one-size-fits-all email with general questions is the best way to get ignored. To get honest, professional advice from someone on LinkedIn or even to make a new connection, you must be quick and to the point. Some quick examples to help you out:

Okay

  1. How do I get a job at your company?
  2. What advice would you give a college graduate?
  3. Can I send you my resume?
  4. Do you like your job?

Better

  1. What do you look for when bringing on new members to your team?
  2. I’m building a career in *area* and would welcome your advice and expertise.
  3. I applied for *insert position* and would like to learn more about the role’s responsibilities.
  4. What have you found rewarding about your career?

In each example, you change a general inquiry into a question that evokes thought and opens up a potential conversation. Your audience can respond with a simple, straightforward answer and still provide value. This allows the recipient to answer without feeling overwhelmed and sets you apart from your peers.