Before we dive right into the best way to send a LinkedIn connection request, you need to know this—please do not go out and invite anyone into your network until you have filled out a good portion of your LinkedIn® Profile. The reason? You can never redo that first impression. If you haven’t optimized your LinkedIn Profile you must start there first.
LinkedIn has well-grounded roots in the job search market, as well as being a professional resource for connections with prospective clients and customers. LinkedIn is by far the world’s largest Rolodex, with over 300 million users registered from all around the globe. LinkedIn is a powerful platform and you definitely want to make the best first impression with potential new connections. Today, we will explore exactly how to accomplish this.
In full disclosure, this best practice “How to send a LinkedIn Connection Request” is excerpted from the book I co-authored with John Nosal, Your LinkedIn Professional Network: How to Connect, Optimize and Implement for Success.
There are two main ways to Send Invitations to Connect with someone on LinkedIn.
You would still use the search feature in LinkedIn® to identify the individual you want to Invite to Connect, but instead of clicking “Connect” in the search results, click their name and go directly to their Profile. There you can click “Connect,” and a list of drop-down options will appear. You will then answer the question, “How do you know Jack?”
As shown in the sample above you have several ways to answer just how you know Jack:
The Colleague, Classmate, and We’ve Done Business Together, information is populated based on your Profile, so if you select one of these options you must have the common information listed on your Profile. If you don’t have this, select another method to connect.
The first best method to connect with someone on LinkedIn® is to select Other and enter his or her email address. You can certainly select Colleague, Classmate, or We’ve Done Business Together, as the second best method to connect.
You can use the Friend option connect with someone; however, you must be very specific when you “Include a Personal Note” message with the Invite as to why you want to connect. Do not sell or give your message a spam feeling.
Example: Jack, I would like the opportunity to connect with you on LinkedIn and get to know more about you and your work. I see on your profile that you are an underwater welder, and I have always wanted to learn more about this career.
If you send an Invite to someone and they click “Ignore” and “This is Spam,” a report is generated to LinkedIn. You do not want to get very many of these on LinkedIn, because if you do, in the future you will be required to provide an email address for everyone you wish to Invite to Connect.
On LinkedIn, ideally Your Network consists of people you know, so they won’t report you as “I Don’t Know …” or “This is Spam.” This is one reason the Include a Personal Note is to be completed effectively. You always want to include how you know the person, where you met them, and so on, so they remember you when you send the invitation to connect.
Example: Bob, it was great talking with you last week at the DFW Search Engine Marketing Association meeting. I look forward to connecting with you on LinkedIn and learning more about you and your work.
Whichever methods you use to send your LinkedIn connection request to someone, you ALWAYS want to customize the invitation with a personal note. Show those you are inviting into your network that you care enough to spend a few moments writing a personal message to them.
Next time, we will explore how to Accept Invitations and follow up with your new connections. In the meantime, continue to work on optimizing your LinkedIn Profile and learning more about why you should be using LinkedIn.
How have you been sending invitations? Do you have your own best practice? Share below. Let’s discuss.