Want to Make Better LinkedIn Connections? Get Personal

Get PersonalNearly every day, I receive (and send) many connection requests through LinkedIn. And I continue to be surprised that the large majority of those who wish to connect fail to personalize the message!

Now, let me first explain first that I don’t normally get too upset with this. I’m fully aware that LinkedIn mobile apps don’t let the user provide any personalization, thus the “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” standard messaging.

But I have to ask: if you could hit the “easy” button and fire away simple connection requests with personalization, would you do it? Some say yes; some see nothing wrong with generic requests.

So here’s the better question:

What if you took 20 seconds to craft a quick note, provide the person you’re reaching out to with a frame of reference, and make an amazing first impression – instead of being another generic communication with zero personality?

Put yourself in the shoes of the person receiving the connection request. For all intents and purposes, let’s just say they’re a recruiter for the most awesome company in the world and you want to work for them. You meet the recruiter at an event, perhaps a career fair. You exchange information and later go to LinkedIn to do a little research.

That little blue “connect” button is calling your name. Heck, LinkedIn even does most of the work for you. Instead of sending the boilerplate “I’d like to connect” blah-blah, you choose to stand out. Your connection request goes something like this:

Hi Kirk,

It was nice to meet you at the career fair today in San Francisco. Cool that you’re also a Cal grad! I’ve already applied online as directed to your awesome company. In the meantime, I’d like to connect with you here on LinkedIn. Let’s keep in touch!

Joe Smith

Now, if you were a recruiter and received tons of the basic boilerplate connection requests, wouldn’t this stand out to you? Of course it would! It’s this simple:

Not getting personal on LinkedIn means missed connections, and missed opportunities!

Wait to make your connection requests from a non-mobile device. Or, at the very least, follow up that same day with an email, InMail, or a message on Twitter.

What inspired me to write this post? The three great connection requests I received this week, shown here in the upper right. Did I connect? You bet. Without hesitation.

Edsel, Mack and Denise: thanks for the added thought in your connection requests. You set an example for us all!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Campus to Career!


Campus to Career


Kirk BaumannAbout the Author: Kirk Baumann is a passionate recruiting advocate preparing the next generation of talent for the career of their dreams. He’s a social media enthusiast who loves technology and how it’s connecting people in ways like never before. Kirk currently serves as Vice President, Career Services for Enactus United States (formerly known as SIFE). There, he helps Fortune 500 & 100 companies recruit top talent for their organizations as well as helping students, alumni, and young professionals find their dream job. Follow Kirk on Twitter!



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