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Connect With a Reason

Please, Personalize Your LinkedIn Invitations

LinkedIn makes it waaaaay too easy to send their generic, canned invitation to connect.  I am writing this post today because I receive too many invitations to connect from people who don’t tell me why they want to connect or how I can help their network. Please, please, personalize your invitation to connection with me on LinkedIn!

My LinkedIn Philosophy

Everyone has a different philosophy for how they want their network on LinkedIn to work. I want to feel like I know my network.  If I need something or have a question, the people in my network are people that I can go to. When I need to make a referral, I also want to be able to provide some additional insight about the person.  I even state this on my LinkedIn profile, which I am sure few ever read or pay attention to, but this is what I say:

I value each and every one of my connections. I will gladly connect with people I know (meaning we have met face to face or engaged in meaningful conversation). I am more than happy to accept twitter followers at http://twitter.com/careersherpa.

  • career opportunities
  • consulting offers
  • job inquiries
  • expertise requests
  • business deals
  • reference requests
  • getting back in touch

It can’t hurt to personalize this message.

In my view, giving more information rather than less is a good thing.  Here is what  would want to see within an invitation to connect:

  • Explain how you know me or what we have in common
  • Why you want to connect
  • And be friendly! “Please” and “Thank You”

If you are looking for advice on what to include in your invitation, you can visit these two posts:

3 Critical Elements of Every LinkedIn Invitation from CAREEREALISM by Arnie Fertig.

11 Ways to Personalize A LinkedIn Invite from Tim’s Strategy

And here’s a story Job Search: Invite Someone To Connect on LinkedIn? By Jason Alba, author of “I’m On LinkedIn…Now What?”

I didn’t accept your invite because…

If you are one of the many people who have sent an invitation to connect and it wasn’t personalized, I did not accept your invite.  Sometimes I feel guilty  for not accepting so I will send a message explaining my philosophy.  Very seldom, gosh, only once, did someone respond to my message and explained why they wanted to connect.  Yes, I immediately accepted their invite.

Here is where you personalize your invite

I can’t assume that everyone makes this mistake on purpose.  I think it is most common among new users of LinkedIn.  When you click on the “Connect” button you will see this box appear. This screen shot shows where you have the option to personalize your  message…now, no excuses!

Linked Invite

My Reasons for this Post

The reason I am writing this is to educate. If you are a job seeker and not personalizing your invitation to me, I can only assume you don’t personalize the other messages you send out.  I know it is dangerous to assume… The other reason I am writing this is to ease my guilt.

OK?  All set?  I feel so much better! I hope you will share this with those you know who are new to LinkedIn!

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • mike lally November 2, 2011, 2:49 pm

    I just experienced a twist on this – I received a request to connect that was what I will call kinda/sorta personalized. There is a fairly large employer here in ROC that was just purchased. I used to work there. This person works there now. The message was – we once worked at the same place although not at the same time and I am really interested in your current company, connect and help me. I declined.

    THEN, someone I DO know that is still at the same company (and you do too I should add) – sent me an email asking me to help this person. Talk about bass-ackwards. I told him to have the person re-contact me with a better plan. Haven’t heard back.

    This was a total new one for me.

    • Hannah Morgan November 2, 2011, 3:26 pm


      So let me get this straight…the person whom you rejected to connect with never referenced the common link to the person you both know? Let me also ask, gee, did you feel like you were being used?

      These are the not-so-subtle nuances of networking that people tend to miss.

      1) ALWAYS reference a personal connection when there is one and give details!
      2) NEVER make people feel they are being used- offer something in return.

      While LinkedIn is a cool tool, it is just that. It is the user who determines its power. What happened to the building a relationship concept? An invite doesn’t build a relationship. Words and phrases and personality are part of building relationships! Sincerity, authenticity, genuine-ness…

      For crying out loud, stop being lazy and be smart about this people.

  • Amy Mourhess November 2, 2011, 3:41 pm

    Guilty as charged. The social network icons have turned into hot keys, or maybe closer to wack-a-mole. The instant I see them, I have an overwhelming urge to click all of the buttons and make sure I round out the connection loop. In some cases, profiles have limited privacy until you are a connection. In my case, I wanted to do more research on your specialties, areas of focus and services and write a more formal note, while at the same time not missing anything new you may post. Obviously, I didn’t miss this one 🙂

    • Hannah Morgan November 5, 2011, 5:01 am

      Thanks for your honesty. I completely understand the logic and I don’t think you are alone. Thus, my logic for the reminder.

      Thanks again and all is forgiven! LOL!