Did LinkedIn tell you a former colleague was having a birthday? As you clicked the “Say Happy Birthday” button, ever wonder why you are doing it? They know you LinkedIn remembered the day for you, and even wrote the message for you! All you did was click the button! What does that do for either of you?? What if there was a better way to say happy birthday that DOES get results?
What if you could get this person who is getting contacted by a wide variety of professionals to help you with your career? Would you try it?
A huge part of maintaining a professional network is periodic communication. You need to keep in touch with your network on a regular basis, when you DON’T need them, which will make it much easier to ask for help when you eventually do need them. But how? What do you say to them today that doesn’t repeat what you said 3 months ago when you sent a touch-base message to them?
Within the PHASE 5 Network Mastery course I have 10 different options, 10 reasons and ways with specific scripts and messages our members can use (verbatim if they wish) to reach out to people in their network on a regular basis without repeating themselves over and over. One of those options is by using a more strategic birthday wish. Below is an excerpt from the “10 Follow Up Options” section of the course. Try one of these messages today!
Strategic Birthdays & Anniversary Wishes
Have you tried wishing people a Happy Birthday or Anniversary on LinkedIn with ZERO results? Me too! At least, that’s what I got before I asked around and learned a few strategic message ideas to get better results. Here they are from Level 1 (basic) to Level 5 (advanced):
Level 1: When you see a notification from LinkedIn that someone in your network has a special occasion happening, click the prebuilt button with prewritten text and be done with it. 2 clicks total: Click the “Say Congrats” button, then Click their message suggestion.
If the person has a huge network, I don’t recommend wasting your time on this. It’s unlikely they will see your message since they will get hundreds of copies of this exact same message. While they may appreciate seeing your name, they won’t be impressed by your effort.
Level 2: Instead of just clicking the prewritten message, use your own! You can keep this in a notepad file or a notes application for easy copy/paste access, or even better, put it into a text shortcut tool like Text Blaze.
Start by wishing them a Happy Birthday or Anniversary of course, but then if you are looking for a new position, briefly mention it!
“Happy Birthday, [Name]! I hope your company has your favorite flavor cake in the breakroom for you today! By the way, I’m currently in job transition right now looking for my next [your title] role, so if you hear of any roles like that for me while you’re chatting with everyone today, please feel welcome to have them call me. Have a great day!”
Or… “Congrats on your anniversary, [Name]! They must be doing something right over there at [company] to be able to keep you there [x]. I hope [x] years from now I’ll have a similar story. I am currently in job transition, so if you have any tips on how you found such a great company, or if you hear of any [your title] roles there at [company], please keep me in mind. Have a great day!”
Level 3: Using the message above, add a GIF! LinkedIn has built access to these animated word-pictures, or memes, directly into their messaging platform. Just click “GIF”, then search for “happy birthday” and choose an animated picture that you think they will like. Although some people are already doing this, a majority of people are not, which means you are more likely to stand out and be noticed.
Level 4: What’s better than a custom message letting them know how they can help you that has an animated picture attached? YOU! Sending that same message with a voice recorded message or a video message you recorded just for them, they will really feel the sincerity of your congratulations if they hear it in your voice. I personally only know of two people in my entire network (over 21K people as I write this) who use the native voice recording and video features within LinkedIn, so you will definitely stand out! At the time of this writing, these features are only available via LinkedIn’s mobile app, but it’s worth checking out.
I understand not everyone is into hearing their own voice or seeing themselves on video, but fear not, there is an even better option (although it would be enhanced by adding a GIF or a recording or video) and it will yield the best results, check out Level 5!
Level 5: The person you are congratulating on LinkedIn is likely going to receive well-wishes from lots of people, so let’s help them to help you! Engage their Reticular Activating System (RAS) by mentioning a specific type of person you would love to meet.
What is your RAS? It’s that part of your brian that starts noticing things that are relevant to you. For example, as you walk through an airport and they are announcing a long list of passenger names, it’s unlikely you will notice or remember any of those names, much less the flight they are on. It will be as meaningful as any other background noise in the environment.
However, if they call out your name, you will quickly become very aware of what they are talking about! Your name is relevant to you, and your RAS will bring it to your attention.
Likewise, if I told you to let me know if you see or sit any chairs today that do not have cushions on them, you will much more likely to notice a feature about the chairs you use everyday that you hadn’t thought about in years, if ever. Make sense? So let’s use their RAS to help you! Here are some ideas:
HR/Recruiter Option: “Happy Birthday, [Name]! I hope you have a great day and are optimistically inspired to have your best year yet. By the way, I’m currently on the job market looking for a [your title] role, so if you happen to see any HR Managers or Recruiters in the list of people who send you happy [birthday/anniversary] wishes today, I’d love to help them fill a position if you’d be willing to make a quick introduction. Thanks in advance. Have a great day!”
Purple Hiring Option: “Happy Birthday, [Name]! I hope you have a great day and are inspired to have another great year. By the way, I’m actively looking for a new [your title] job, so if you happen to see anyone with a purple “I’m Hiring” circle around their profile picture in the list of people who send you happy [birthday/anniversary] wishes today, I’d love to help them fill a position if you’d be willing to make a quick introduction. Thanks in advance. Have a great day!”
Specific Company Option: “Happy Birthday, [Name]! I hope you have a great day and are surrounded by friends and family to have fun with today. By the way, I’m currently looking trying get into [company] as a [your title] for them, so if you happen to see anyone who works at [company] in the list of people who send you happy [birthday/anniversary] wishes today, please let me know because I’d love to connect with them. ADV(thanks)ANCE! Have a great day!”
Your RAS is a powerful force, not only for these birthday messages, but for your daily approach to life! The message below was inspired by a random meme I found online, but it is so true and is a great reminder of how our thoughts control our daily experience. I just added a little to it to be more specific to job seekers.
– Easy to spot a red car when you are always thinking about red cars.
– Easy to see opportunities when you are always thinking about opportunities.
– Easy to find reasons to be mad when you are always thinking of reasons to be mad.
– Easy to come up with excuses why your results are outside of your control (the job market is hard, your resume is weak, your network is small), if you are always looking for ‘their-fault’ reasons.
– You become what you constantly think about. Watch yourself.
– Change your focus and change your life!
We can all choose our thoughts. If we don’t like what we are thinking, then just like if we were watching a show on TV that we don’t want to watch, we can change the channel!
If you like these ideas and want more good reasons and ways to connect with your network, there are 9 other options for you in our Network Mastery course, and this is just one of 5 sections teaching you how to build and grow your professional network!
It’s time to get to work!