Over the past year or so, I have been getting invites to ‘Connect’ on LinkedIn and some things are quite clear – the number of people on LinkedIn are increasing exponentially and it is fast becoming the tool for ‘cold calling’. I think the former is probably the reason for latter.
So I am going to (somewhat presumptuously) list down suggestions for sending requests for ‘Connecting’.
The first rule to remember is that LinkedIn is about connections not contacts – a very important distinction. This is not Facebook – it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. Just because you have a lot of connections it does not mean you are actually well connected. It does not mean that you will find a job faster or that you will find customers or vendors faster. So think about why you want to Connect with someone – does it make sense? do you think there are potential opportunities to work together? Could they be your potential employer? Or do you just admire them? By the way, these are all good reasons for Connecting with someone, but with the following caveats:
1. No Advertising please:
Please do NOT use LinkedIn invite for advertising. I recently got a request selling, of all the things, Crystals with healing powers (seriously??). If you have to, please send it to your contacts – definitely not as part of an invite. Note that I said advertising, not promotion or business pitch. A business pitch that uses Invitation to Connect message is a perfectly legitimate way to introduce your company – it is a business network after all.
If you are asking someone to Connect with you, please send a note along with the invite. Don’t let the invite just say ‘ XXX would like to add you to their Professional Network’. Let them know why exactly you would like to connect – do take those extra 30 secs to say things like ‘it was nice to meet with you at xxx or I think there could be interesting opportunities to work together’.
3. Job Hunt:
If you are looking for a job.. please say so. If there is an opening, most of the people will gladly send your resume to the correct person. But again, you have a far better chance if you mention why you would like to work at their organization. Remember this is like any other job search tool – carpet bombing rarely, if at all, works.
4. Fill in your profile:
If you are sending people an invite, please complete your profile as much as you can. Nothing screams ‘one way street’ like sending an invite with your own details missing or incomplete. Lets face it – it’s just a little creepy – invite basically says ‘ I know you and want to connect with you but I don’t want to tell you who I am’. This is the web equivalent of sending SMS’ from unknown numbers or calling and then hanging up (blank calls as we used to call them).
Well that’s it – 4 simple rules to higher rate of acceptance for your invites!!!