I recently led a webinar wherein I talked about the ways LinkedIn members can build their networks by connecting with others properly. I stressed the importance of sending a personalized invite as opposed to sending the default message LinkedIn provides.
Before we dive into writing personalized invites, it’s important to know the fundamentals of connecting with LinkedIn members. In the image below, you’ll note I typed “Career Advisor” in the search area. In “All people filters,” I selected second-degree connections and the Greater Boston Area. I then click “Select.”
Once you’ve landed on a profile that speaks to you, you can choose “Connect” and write one of three personalized invitations:
1. Connecting Directly: The Cold Invite
Of the three options, this is the least successful way to connect on LinkedIn. It is better than indiscriminately clicking the “Send Now” button on a potential connection’s profile, but it is still a cold invite.
In your invitation, you can mention where you and your desired connection met, similar to the message below:
We met at the Westford networking event. You delivered an excellent presentation. The way you talked about interviewing resonated with me. As promised, I’m inviting you to my LinkedIn network.
Note: you only have 300 characters to work with.
2. Using a Reference to Connect
If you’re going to connect directly, you’re more likely to see success by mentioning a reference in your invite. This would be a shared connection, someone who is connected with you and the LinkedIn member with whom you’d like to connect.
I did a search for second-degree connections who reside in the Greater Boston Area and work for Philips. Below is an image of four results for this search. You will notice the faces of the shared connections. Click on “(number) of shared connections” to see who is connected directly with your desired LinkedIn member.
Once you have chosen a person who could be a reference for you, email the person asking if you could use their name in an invite.
Once you have your reference’s permission, your message to a new connection might look like this:
You and I are both connected with Sharon Beane. She and I work for the Career Center of Lowell as workshop facilitators. When asked if I could mention her in an invite to you, she agreed. I believe we can be of mutual assistance.
3. Asking for an Introduction
This is the most effective way to connect with new people. It’s a slower process, but it’s the proper way to connect. This method requires asking a trusted connection to send a message to the person with whom you’d like to connect.
Note: It’s best to ask for an introduction through email, because people are more likely to reply to email than to LinkedIn messages.
Here is a sample introduction sent via email:
I see that you’re connected with Mark L. Brown, the director of finance at ABC Company. I’m currently in transition and am very interested in a senior financial analyst role.
Although there is no advertised position at ABC, I’d like to speak with Mark about the responsibilities of a senior financial analyst role in ABC’s finance department. It is early on in the process, so I’m also scoping out the companies on my bucket list.
I’ve attached my resume for you to distribute to Mark and anyone you know who is looking for a senior financial analyst.
PS – It was great seeing our girls duke it out in last weekend’s soccer match. I hope the two teams meet in the finals.
To optimize the way you connect with people on LinkedIn in 2018, it’s important to develop a network of valuable connections. The core of your network should be people who work in your industry and share the same occupation. You should also connect with people who work in other industries but in the same occupation.
Regardless of who you connect with, always use the proper approaches to invite them to your network.
Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 15 job search workshops at an urban career center.