Nothing makes you feel better than getting a note from a colleague saying how excited they are for you and your career change. These were the best messages to receive and really helped to build excitement around changing positions. Not only was it nice to see notes from old coworkers, but also from vendors that I had developed positive relationships with while on my hiatus. Sending a note of congratulations (without any selling around it) is something that is very good for maintaining positive relationships. These types of notes made me want to work with those people again in the future.
If I worked with you in the past, I know the products and services that you offer, I know what value you add and have your contact information. I do not really think it is appropriate to give the hard sell pitch over LinkedIn on why I should continue to work with you. I received more than a handful of these types of messages, and as it was nice to know that people are paying attention, it weakened the sales relationship that the person had worked so hard to build. I also thought it wasn’t too cool of a new account representative to call on me referencing the old rep’s name and how they would be the new point of contact for services – just too soon to reach out without a real purpose.
The strangest batch of messages came from people I didn’t even know. These were always from a “mutual connection” and were focused a lot on product and why I should now utilize them as a strategic partner. It was nice to know that people were paying attention, but I felt like it was just too soon to be bombarded with sales pitches.
Overall, my advice is simple. Send a friendly note to people you enjoy working with letting them know that you are excited for them. Don’t try to sell someone on your solutions again too quickly. If you haven’t worked with someone in the past, give them a little time to adjust before you start filling up their inbox.