The right way to connect on LinkedIn

The power of LinkedIn is in growing your network, not necessarily with the most number of connections, but with the right connections to help you advance your career.

These could be connections who are:

– Doing what you are currently doing and can help you do your job better. Or

– Doing what you want to do and can help you get there. Or

– Working in organizations where you want to work, or in cities where you want to live. Or

– Simply people you meet at an event and with whom you want to stay in touch.

LinkedIn makes it easy to connect with everyone in your online address book. DO NOT USE THIS FEATURE. This is an ineffective way to connect, since everyone will get the same generic invitation request. Instead, I suggest you personalize every request.

When I receive a connection request from someone I do not know and they use the generic “personal note,” I assume the person does not really care about me; they are just trying to randomly grow their network. I usually ignore these requests.

Personalizing your requests becomes even more important as you try to connect with someone you may have just met in real life, or may have not met at all. You will not have 100% success in connecting with everyone to whom you reach out, but you increase your likelihood if you follow these steps:

1. Go to the person’s profile. Read it. Note if you share any commonalities.

2. Click the “Connect” button.

3. How do you know this person? If none apply, use the “We’ve done business together” option.

4. Most crucial – delete the weak and generic “personal note” and write your own. Be brief, you have only 300 characters. Give your contact a reason to want to connect with you:

– Unless you live or work next to this person, do not assume that they remember you. Remind them how you know each other (if you do).

– Why do you want to connect?

– What value do you expect to receive?

– More importantly, what value can you give? Perhaps reference something from their profile.

If you want to connect with me, tell me why. With just this simple effort, I am usually more than happy to accept.

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.



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