We’re all guilty of using the generic, “I’d like to add you to my professional network” message to make connections on LinkedIn. However, how valuable can these connections really be if your new link doesn’t know why you’re contacting them or anything about you beyond your profile? Here are the 5 most important steps to take when sending a LinkedIn invitation.
- Be honest: If you are serious about networking with the person you are contacting, you need to be clear about why you want to connect with them. For example, if you are looking to link with a person because you are thinking of making a career change, and you know they made a similar move, let them know you are interested in getting some insight from them.
- Explain how you know them: If you are trying to connect with a professional who you happened to find insightful after stumbling upon one of their blog posts, it’s important to let your potential new contact know where you know them from.
- Find something in common: Whether the person is a stranger, or an old co-worker, or a boss you want to reconnect with, it may be helpful to mention something the two of you have in common. To help find some common ground, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you share a mutual career field or interest?
- Have you both attended any of the same events?
- Do you have any connections in common?
- Personalize it: Chances are, most people you want to connect with have different skills, experiences, and backgrounds. Therefore, your LinkedIn invitations should not be exact replicas of each other. If you find that you have anything in common with the individual you’re linking with, be sure to mention it right away! In addition, it may be helpful to reference your potential new contact’s profile by explaining what you found most interesting and relevant.
- Thank them: When writing a LinkedIn invitation, it is best to thank the professional you are connecting with in advance. It is also important to offer ways in which you can potentially help them. The goal is to show your new contact that you can be just as valuable to them as they will be to you.