To Link or Not to Link

LinkedIn Dos and Donts

Have you sent a LinkedIn request to only to be denied? While LinkedIn has become the number one go-to professional social network, it is also the network that most people are unsure how professionals use it.

Why? Because some professionals use LinkedIn to network while others use it to connect only with professionals they currently have relationships with. And you can blame LinkedIn for that bit of confusion as the site itself touts that you should only accept invitations from people you know and trust, yet the site also likes to suggest “people you may know.”

Personally, I use LinkedIn to connect with people I know because connecting with someone implies my approval or endorsement of that person. I am wary of people connecting with me only to see my contacts. With that being said, I have connected with people I haven’t met because it also seems wasteful to throw out potentially valuable business contacts.

So, how do you stand out when sending LinkedIn requests to potential contacts to ensure making a connection? Here are some of my dos and don’ts:

  • Send a personalized note with your request — If we haven’t met, send a personalize message with the request and let me know why you want to connect. Without a personalized message, I may hit the “Report Spam” or “I Don’t Know This Person” button. If that happens a few times, you may get tossed into LinkedIn Jail.
  • Do not send a request after a job interview or if you have just submitted a resume for a potential position — Only send the request if you actually get the job, otherwise it may be an awkward connection.
  • Update your profile — If you don’t have a profile photo or don’t offer any information on who you are and why we may have something in common, the likelihood of connecting is slim.
  • Be active in groups — If we are in the same group and I notice that you are an active participant, that speaks volumes.
  • Just because we are connected on Twitter doesn’t necessarily mean we should connect on LinkedIn—The Twitterverse is filled with lots of “followers” so if we aren’t connecting on Twitter, we most likely won’t be connecting on LinkedIn.

What are your thoughts on LinkedIn invitations? Leave your comments on the NST Facebook  page.