LinkedIn is not a true social network in the sense that it is where people go to chat and share details of their personal lives. It’s a site for professionals and job seekers, and as such, there are some basic and very important guidelines that people should follow when connecting with others whom you don’t know that well personally.
Getting Strangers to Accept Your Invite
- The most important thing to do when reaching out to someone is to let them know who you are, why you are contacting them, and if you have a friend in common. Clearly your name and job title will be visible, but the standard invitation to connect text is “I'd like to add you to my proffesional network on LinkedIn.” This tells nothing about why you want to connect - are you looking for a job? Did you meet them at a networking event? Are you looking to connect for a sales opportunity? Without context, your connection may decline your invitation, and may even be angered by the lack of information.
- Second, make sure that you have some sort of profile picture. It doesn’t have to be a professional headshot, but it should be mostly of your face, or head and shoulders. It can be an action shot, but many times the image is small, so keep in mind that people may not be able to see the detail of what’s happening in the photo. Having an image associated with your profile helps the person you’re trying to connect to feel more at ease.
- Lastly, and this might go without saying, but make sure that your profile is updated. This is an extended calling card, and if you merely list the companies you've worked for, you won’t give a sense of who you are and, therefore, why someone would want to accept your connection.
By adhering to these rules, you can help enhance your use of LinkedIn and grow your network in one of the most important places on the web.
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