When you ask to connect on LinkedIn with someone, what you say matters a lot!
Are you asking the invitee to do too much? Have you made it worth their while to connect with you? Remember, connecting is like a first date! Woo them and make them want to have a second date!
Sometimes job seekers will ask me to introduce them to people in my network. When they do, and I’m happy to make the introduction, I ask the person to send a message I can forward along that explains why they want to connect. It makes it easier for me and more likely I’ll do it.
However, some job seekers don’t quite get the hang of what to say.
If you received this LinkedIn message (an invitation to connect), what would you do? DISCLAIMER: I’ve changed some of the details to protect the innocent, but otherwise, this is the message I was asked to forward along.
Hi Sam….I am an outgoing, personable, professional with a BSBA in Accounting from Stuffy Business School at Private University. Post graduation I worked two years as a Staff Accountant and two years as an Assistant Project Manager. I left the position as a Staff Accountant because it was not a good fit for me. I am interested in learning about professional business administration opportunities with The Best Company in Your Town, USA. I didn’t see any job openings at that location that met my status/experience/qualifications. Can I have your email/phone, so I can send you my resume and explain my qualifications further? As a side note, I just began my job search and have had interviews with two strong local companies and things are starting to move quickly, but would like to explore opportunities that meet my status/experience/qualifications with The Best Company. My # is 555-1212 and email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Problem 1: Formatting matters- even when sending a message inside Linkedin. This is just one big glob of text. It is overwhelming to read. Try breaking it into paragraphs.
Problem 2: It isn’t until the 4th sentence that Sam will realize what this person is asking. Will Sam read that far?
Problem 3: What kind of job is this job seeker looking for exactly? “Business Administration opportunities”? This is too vague. It requires too much thinking for someone who is busy.
Problem 4: “Can I have your email/phone so I can send you my resume?” Are you kidding? First of all, why does Sam want his resume? So he can find the job seeker a job? Second, this candidate could put his resume in his LinkedIn profile but why even do that if they connect on LinkedIn. A LinkedIn profile is a resume. Third, if this person accepts the invite, then the job seeker should be able to see the email address.
Problem 5: What this job seeker has done is to put the burden of action on Sam. People are busy. They don’t owe strangers anything, it has to be earned. As the “requester”, take ownership, accountability and action!
Problem 6: This invitation to connect has become a classic example of “bait and switch” or, “connect with me so I can use you to find a job.” No one wants to feel used.
Networking requires patience and finesse. One of the most important rules of social networking is to build a relationship. Remember, a relationship is a two-way street. Think about what the other person needs or wants to get from the relationship. Here’s an example of how this message could be re-worded:
I have asked Hannah to forward this request to connect on LinkedIn because of my interest in what you are doing to promote the Best Company’s reputation in Your Town. I also see you are quite involved and active on LinkedIn.
As a Staff Accountant and Assistant Project Manager, I’ve been able to save my company money by implementing quality processes and improving cross-departmental communication. I strongly believe these accomplishments would be of value at The Best Company as well. I would like the opportunity to better understand the goals and challenges of The Best Company.
By connecting on LinkedIn, I hope to learn more about you and The Best Company and one day meet in person. Might you be attending the Digital Town event in May? Perhaps we can chat further then.
Thanks for your willingness to connect.
See the difference? What have you said in your invitations to connect through LinkedIn?
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.