To build a network you need to connect to people. To connect with them you have to meet them. On LinkedIn, more often than not, you need to send connection requests.
Sounds easy enough, LinkedIn even makes it easy for you providing you with an opening:
“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
Yes, it is boring and a template. Yet, in a pinch it will work. I get a lot of the template connection requests and I pass no judgement on any of them.
I understand some people are still getting their sea legs on LinkedIn and some may feel uncomfortable scripting something to a professional that specializes in LinkedIn. Some are just busy and this is an easy, fast method.
Let’s face it, if people did not connect using this opening I doubt LinkedIn would still be providing it for us.
That being said, I do not recommend using the generic template. It is best to craft a personal message (which I will discuss in short order) however, there is a line.
These next six examples cross that line. They crossed it two time zones ago. These are the types of messages that drive people away.
1. I Am Not Looking To Buy
This is another type of template – a cold, uninformed, annoying sales pitch of anything. I do not know you, I am not going to buy from you because you clogged up my LinkedIn request with:
“I can save you (pick from the following): money, time, get you more prospects, get you a better job, reduce your stress, blah, blah, blah.
2. My Name Is Important
Back in the day (as my son would say) when we used phones mounted on the wall and no Caller ID, we had to answer the call and then determine if it was a sales call. For my house, it was easy. My maiden name is Teepe.
Yep, Teepe – c’mon, I’ve heard them all – the wigwam and toilet paper jokes. Yeah, it was a blast growing up with that last name. The one benefit is I could always tell a solicitor because they did not know how to pronounce it.
Misspelling someone’s name in a connection request is the same as butchering their name in person.
My name is pretty simple – Lisa. Can’t really go wrong there, although here is a trick: I use my middle initial in my profile. When you use something to automatically fill in the first name, for me it will populate “Lisa K”
My dad was and will be the only person in this world who ever called me Lisa K.
3. Do You Even Know What I Do?
This goes along with number one, but to a different degree. These connection requests seem like they are more personable because they are not obvious mass copies; however, there is one problem: they did not read your profile.
They are sending you something that demonstrates they did not even look at your profile. Case in point: I had a connection request from someone offering their services as a LinkedIn profile writer. Really? Even if they had just looked at my title they might have seen that, gee whiz, that is what I do!
These are the ‘personal’ messages selling rawhide bones to cats and catnip to dogs.
4. Shotgun Recruiter
I have a great deal of respect for recruiters, I really do. I do not have a great deal of respect for recruiters who send out blast messages.
I have received connection requests from recruiters saying they have a great job opportunity for me…in some obscure field I have no experience in whatsoever. That is cheap, throwing a bunch of requests out there with a potential hook to see what sticks to the wall.
As for me, I love what I do. I also have a pretty cool boss and my office mates are three crazy dogs. Top that work environment!
5. This Would Not Pass Mrs. Traycoff’s Class
Mrs. Traycoff was my high school English teacher. A very tiny yet powerful woman who would perch at the front of the class on her three legged stool wrapped up in a shawl or blanket and with one gaze she could stop you in your tracks and make you fear getting an adverb and adjective mixed up. I loved Mrs. Traycoff.
Connection requests with bad grammar, horrible spelling and just no sense to your sentence structure equates to spam or someone who has not grasp the whole communication thing yet.
6. This Is Not A Party line
Do not hit on a potential connection. This is not an online dating site. It is creepy and wrong. Just stop it.
To take your connection request up a notch from the standard template do this one thing:
Think like a person.
If you were meeting this person in-person, what would you say? How would you introduce yourself? LinkedIn is a digital handshake.
“I noticed that we have 13 connections in common, I thought it would make sense for us to connect”
“I see that you and I are both a member of Community Volunteer Group, I don’t know how I have missed meeting you…..”
What do you have in common – people, organizations, schools, passions, past employer – find it and mention it.
Maybe you have read an article that someone wrote or a presentation they gave, that is your opening.
“I really liked your article XYZ and would appreciate connecting with you on LinkedIn.”
These are all examples, but the most important thing is to make them your own.
Remember, you are just a person digitally standing in front of another person asking them to connect to you. Be yourself and you will do just fine.
A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.
As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.
★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right ★