Connecting on LinkedIn: The Unwritten Rules

We all know that LinkedIn is the go-to site for managing and growing our professional networks. With more than 390 million members, there’s plenty of professionals to be found, but what’s important is that you connect with these people in the right way.

You could be growing your network to find new prospects, opportunities, potential partners or useful people to know in your industry. Whatever your aims, there are a few things that you should consider when you are connecting on LinkedIn:

Should you personalise your connection request?

It’s always better to try and personalise your connection requests. This is especially true if you are trying to connect with someone who may not know you or has only met you briefly. A lot of professionals are wary of connecting with people that they don’t know.

To ensure that you can personalise your request, you should view the person’s profile first and click the connect button on there. This always gives you the option to tailor your invitation.

How can you personalise your request?

Here are some ways that you may want to personalise your request:

  • If you’ve met before, remind them where and when.
  • Simply explain why you would like to connect.
  • If they’re a new prospect, explain the mutually beneficial relationship that you hope to develop by connecting.
  • Pay them a compliment! Don’t believe those people that tell you: “Flattery will get you nowhere”.
  • Refer to something that you have in common — this could be a mutual connection or a shared school/university.

However you want to personalise your invite, remember that you are limited to 300 characters, so keep it short and to the point!

Don’t be a stranger

Personalising your requests will stop you from looking like a random stranger who wants to connect for mysteriously unknown reasons. LinkedIn actively discourages its members from connecting with people they don’t know, so you should always have a clear reason why you want to connect.

Build a quality network, not a quantity network

Unlike other social networks, for example Twitter, LinkedIn is all about quality, not quantity. According to LinkedIn’s Corporate Communications Manager, Crystal Braswell, the quality of your connections has a direct influence on the benefits you get from LinkedIn.

The site is great for building a really useful network of business connections who you can keep in touch with and utilise throughout your career. While aiming to grow your network is definitely a good thing, you should always try to ensure that you only connect with people that are or could be useful to your career.

If you receive a random connection request from someone you don’t know who doesn’t even remotely work in your industry, why would you want to connect with them?

Anyone can grow a large network on LinkedIn, but the real challenge lies in building one that empowers you and positions you for success in your professional life.

To get the most out of LinkedIn, you need to build your network in the right way. Keep connecting, but always do it wisely!

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