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Understanding Your Contact Options

Before you start communicating with another LinkedIn member, you need to understand your available options for contacting that particular person. When you view member profiles or their summary information from another part of the site, the icons to the right of a member’s name tell you how you’re connected (see Figure 6.1).

Figure 6.1

Figure 6.1. The icons next to a member’s name tell you how you’re connected.

These icons identify 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree connections; LinkedIn premium account holders, and LinkedIn OpenLink network members. If you aren’t familiar with a particular icon, hover your mouse over it for a text description.

The buttons and links that display to the right of a member’s name let you know what contact options are available. These include

  • Connect—Invite this person to connect on LinkedIn. Refer to Lesson 3 for more information about sending connection requests.
  • Send [First Name] a Message—Send a message to a direct connection or group member.
  • Send InMail—Send an InMail to someone who isn’t a direct connection. This option doesn’t appear for members to whom you can send a message because it wouldn’t make sense to pay to contact someone you can communicate with freely. If you click the Send InMail link and don’t have a premium account, LinkedIn prompts you to sign up for one before you can proceed.
  • Send InMail (Free)—Send an OpenLink message to a member of the OpenLink Network. LinkedIn members who hold premium accounts can offer you the option of sending them free InMail. Refer to Lesson 1, “Introducing LinkedIn,” for more information about the OpenLink Network.
  • Recommend [First Name]—Post a recommendation for this LinkedIn member.
  • Get Introduced Through a Connection—Request an introduction to this member through a 1st degree connection.
  • Suggest a Profile Update for [First Name]—Send profile update suggestions to one of your connections. Although most people want to improve their LinkedIn profiles, be careful to avoid making suggestions that sound like criticisms.
  • Suggest Connections—Suggest other LinkedIn members that this person should consider connecting with.
  • Find References—Search for LinkedIn members who worked at the same company at the same time as this member.
  • Save [First Name]’s Profile—Save this person’s profile to your Profile Organizer (a premium feature). See Lesson 7, “Searching on LinkedIn,” for more information.

These are the link names that appear on an actual profile. The link names in search results are sometimes abbreviated.

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