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“Hi Tom, I’d like to join your LinkedIn network”


So such is your desire to make my acquaintance you don’t feel you can spend a few seconds to explain who you are, why you want to join my network, why I might want to connect with you, or even simply insert a polite sign off such as kind regards and your name! Ask yourself – if a stranger accosts you in the street and asks for your number and email address….would you not expect some information in return before providing it?

You may gather I have a pet hate – intro’s on LinkedIn from people you don’t know with no personalised message at all. But rather than a rant, there is a constructive and very simple message if you’re someone looking to develop your network.

Don’t be lazy

Acknowledging LinkedIn can sometimes send off an invite without giving the option of a message, and there is limited text space to really introduce yourself fully, I don’t think this is the reason why this happens in most cases…it’s just plain lazy. Surely if you actually want to enter someone’s network you should at least observe a basic courtesy to pen a few words to introduce yourself? If you do want to connect you stand more chance if you do take a little extra time to explain why and the recipient may be more inclined to see a value in making the connection.

Avoid being put in the trash

As someone who regularly will make introductions via LinkedIn in my capacity as a headhunter and where a call or email has not been possible, I think it’s the least I could do if asking sincerely for people to give me the time of day. But as the recipient of regular invites to connect when working in my in-house recruitment capacity, I am only going to spare the time to consider someone’s request if it’s quickly made obvious to me why it may be worth my while. Otherwise it quickly goes to the trash items. This applies to recruitment consultants, who are the worst culprits by a long way, but also prospective job seekers.

Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes

As a prospective supplier, the quick un-personalised invite creates the impression you’re all about banging out numbers with no thought to quality, which is hardly likely to make me want to use your services. For someone just wanting to connect for network or job seeking purposes, try to make the right first impression, although of course you have to be more forgiving those who don’t use it so regularly and may not know how to use it so effectively!

The busy recruiter (or busy anyone for that matter) doesn’t have lots of spare time to look at the profiles of everyone who’s speculatively approached them to work out if it will be useful to connect. Nor do they want their network to become some vast mass of contacts that becomes useless to refer to as they no longer know who half of them are. LinkedIn isn’t Facebook!

First impressions count

If someone takes the time to write a personalised message, they deserve a response, in my opinion. If they don’t, they don’t. I will always respond to someone who’s taken the time to add a note to their invitation, even if I don’t connect with them.

LinkedIn only allows a small window to create a first impression, so my advice is to make sure it’s the right one.