There’s a right way and a wrong way
If you aren’t building your Linkedin connections, you should be. That means, identifying who you want to add to your network and sending them an invitation to connect with you.
But you must go about this in the right way, otherwise most people will NOT connect with you.
If you’re like most people, you’re not sending a personalized message. I know this because probably 99% of the numerous people who want to connect with me do not include a message.
Besides not knowing who these people are, I have no idea what their end goal is.
Why do they want to connect with me?
What are they hoping to achieve through our connection?
I’m assuming it’s because they are either about to embark on a job search or are in the middle of one, or are looking for career help, but that might not be the case
They’re expecting me to hit “accept” without giving me a good reason why I should do that. In many cases, I just ignore their invitation because I don’t want to be pitched or spammed.
There are definitely missed opportunities here. If I know why the person wanted to connect, I might be able to offer some help, even if it’s just giving them a free resource or pointing them in another direction.
How to send invitations to connect
If you know someone really well, like a current colleague, you might think it’s okay to skip the personalized message but to be honest, I wouldn’t. It’s an opportunity to say something nice to them and reinforce your relationship.
If you don’t know the person at all or did but it was a long time ago, you definitely should include a message with the invitation. According to Linkedin, your invitation is much more likely going to be accepted when you include a personal message.
The objective behind the message is to compel the recipient to connect with you, so you need to be very strategic about what you say. There’s no one way to do this and there’s no magic bullet, so you might have to try a few different messages to see which one works.
As of the printing of this article, you have 300 characters (not words ) which is about 57 words give or take. You don’t have a lot of space, so you need to get to the point right away and use as few words as possible.
I think the reason that most people don’t include a message is that they either don’t know what to say, or they just can’t be bothered to take the time to formulate a message. Neither is good.
It doesn’t look good on you if you can’t take the time to craft a short message. I mean, it’s only 57 words and it doesn’t even have to be that long.
I’ve put together some messages you could use as a guide to create your own.
10 Sample Connection Invitation Emails
Just an FYI – do NOT copy these messages verbatim.
They are just examples and should not be reproduced and distributed without my permission. Please just use them as inspiration.
#1: Colleague or someone you know well
Congrats on winning the “Team Player” award! I really do appreciate all your feedback and guidance when I started this job, so I can see why you won this. I’d love to take you out for a celebratory coffee. Let me know what suits.
#2: Someone you just started working with
I’m really excited about starting my career with Fantastic Corp. Thank you for having confidence in my abilities! I’m looking forward to working with you and making sure that we exceed our targets!
#3: Someone you used to work with
Time flies! It was a pleasure to have worked with you at Acme Corp from 2013 to 2015. I noticed you have moved on to Super Duper Ltd. I’d love to catch up and find out how things are going. It could be a virtual or real coffee. Looking forward to hearing from you!
#4: Someone you met through someone else
How are you? We were introduced by John Smith at that social gathering at Wheeler’s Bar. I’d love to connect with you and learn more about what you do at Unique Paper Folding Inc. I am intrigued by the origami arts industry and have some questions.
#5: Someone you met at a networking event
It was great meeting you at the career professional’s conference last week in Toronto. I enjoyed hearing about your coaching strategies. I’d love to learn more about what you do and the industry, as it’s something I’d like to transition into.
#6: Someone you follow on social media
Dear Mr. Smith
I’m a Comp Sci grad from UofW and read your blog post religiously. The one about XYZ was eye-opening. I would love to ask you a few questions about how you got started with XYZ which is my dream company. All I need is 20 min or so and the lattes are on me.
Your biggest fan,
#7: Someone who’s in the same Linkedin group
Great minds think alike! I’m also in the PMP group and really enjoy your posts, especially the one about what NOT to do which I totally agree with. I’d love to keep in touch and learn more about what you do.
#8: A recruiter you want to work with
I came across your profile on the ABC website page. I’m a career strategist and have helped over 500 executives in numerous industries progress in their careers. I’d like to chat about whether my background is a good fit with any of your openings.
#9: Someone you used to go to school with
Long time, no see! We were both in the same program at UofW from 1999 to 2004. I’m a Sales Mgr with XYZ Corp. I’d love to hear more about your work with ABC Inc which is one of my dream companies. Can we meet for a quick chat over bagels and coffee at your fave deli? My treat.
#10: A hiring manager from a niche you’re interested in
Dear Mr Kim,
I’m an Operations Mgr with a passion for restoring vintage cars. I’m looking to get into the automotive sector. I’d love 20 min of your time to ask you a few questions about ABC Ltd. and to share my ideas on how you can solve the delivery issues you wrote of in your blog.
A couple other things to keep in mind….
Remember, these are just examples and aren’t written in stone. The point is to send some kind of message that will give them at least a bit of an idea about why you want to connect and how you might be able to help if that’s one of your “hooks”.
Another thing – make sure that when you click on the “connect” button in Linkedin, that you are able to send the personalized message. I seem to recall at some point it would automatically send the invitation in certain instances without giving the option to include a message, but that appears to have changed.
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