When sending a LinkedIn connection request, the invitation message you write can make or break whether the recipient accepts. A thoughtful, personalised message shows you value their time and makes connecting feel like a two-way street. Here’s how to craft effective LinkedIn invitation messages.
Keep it short and specific
Get straight to the point in 1-2 sentences. Explain who you are, where you know them from, and why you want to connect. Vague messages full of pleasantries like “I’d love to add you to my network” often get ignored or rejected.
For example, “Hi John, I saw you worked at Company X. I’m looking to break into that industry. Would love to connect and hear your thoughts on the skills needed to succeed.” This level of specificity shows you’re not just blindly sending invites.
Personalise each request
Personalised messages have higher acceptance rates because they demonstrate you actually looked at the recipient’s profile. Mention shared connections, employers, university, or interests you have in common.
For instance, “Dear Jane, I see you also went to University Y. I enjoyed your article on Topic Z and would love to discuss that subject further over LinkedIn. Hope to connect!” This shows you share a bond and have a genuine reason to connect.
Be polite and professional
LinkedIn is for career networking, so maintain professional decorum. Use a warm but respectful tone, proper grammar, and proofread for typos. Sign off with “Best regards” or “Sincerely” and your full name.
Saying simply, “Hey man! Let’s link up on LinkedIn!” is too casual for many business contacts. Take the extra minute to craft a polite message like, “Good afternoon Mr. Lee, I’m impressed by your accomplishments at Company A. I would appreciate the opportunity to connect with you on LinkedIn. Best, Sandra Chen.”
Make it mutually beneficial
Emphasise how connecting can help both parties. Rather than making it all about what you want from them, note what you can offer them too. That might be industry insights, potential referrals, or sharing their content.
For example, “Hi Matt, I see we’re both data analysts in the Chicago area. I would love to connect so we can share best practices and build our professional networks. Hope to collaborate with you soon!” This pitches the relationship as a two-way street.
Follow up thoughtfully if needed
If they don’t respond after 1-2 weeks, consider a polite follow up. But don’t harass them with multiple messages if they continue not to engage.
In your follow up, acknowledge they may have missed your initial outreach and restate your interest in connecting. For instance, “Hi Lisa, just wanted to follow up on my last message in case you didn’t get a chance to see it. I think there could be great synergy between our companies. Let me know if you’d be open to linking up on LinkedIn.”
Connect with common contacts first
If trying to connect with someone influential with whom you have no prior relationship, see if you have any 2nd or 3rd degree connections in common. Reach out to those mutual connections first and develop rapport with them before requesting an introduction.
Once you have established relationships with those gatekeepers, they will often be more willing to facilitate an introduction and put in a good word for you with the person you ultimately want to connect to. This gives you some social proof when you do send the main connection request.
Reference offline interactions
If you met someone in person but aren’t yet connected on LinkedIn, proactively send them a request afterwards referencing where you met. This helps jog their memory of who you are and shows you’re following up.
For example, “Hi Rachel, it was great meeting you at last week’s industry conference. I really enjoyed our conversation around blockchain trends. Would love to stay in touch on LinkedIn.” This reminds them of the context.
Make requests time-sensitive
When appropriate, noting a time-sensitive purpose for connecting can pique recipients’ interest in accepting. You might mention an upcoming conference both of you are attending, a job you’re applying to at their company, or a deadline you’re trying to meet.
For instance, “Hi Amanda, I just applied for the open marketing manager role at Company X and saw we share some great connections. Hoping we can quickly connect on LinkedIn so I can learn more about your experiences there prior to my interviews.” The ticking clock creates urgency.
Sell yourself appropriately
It’s fine to briefly explain your background and why you’d make a valuable connection. But avoid overt bragging. Arrogant messages turn people off.
For example, “Hello Luis, As an award-winning graphic designer with 15 years experience, I think we could both benefit from connecting” is better than “You should add me. I’m one of the top designers in the country and totally elite.” Know your worth but stay humble.
Make it easy to say yes
Ultimately, you want the recipient to feel comfortable accepting your request with minimal effort on their end. So don’t ask long favour or make big asks upfront before you have a relationship.
Saying “Feel free to connect with me if you’d like” is better than “Please spend 30 minutes on the phone walking me through your career path.” Start with the LinkedIn connection to get your foot in the door before asking for their time and energy.
Proofread every message
Typos or glaring grammar errors undermine your professionalism. Always proofread messages before sending. Read your text aloud and run spellcheck to catch mistakes.
Also double check you’re sending each message to the right recipient. Nothing turns people off quite like getting a message meant for someone else starting “Hi Steve”.
Follow up if they accept
If they do accept your invitation, follow up again with a thank you note. This helps cement the new connection and keeps dialogue flowing.
For instance, “Thanks for connecting John! Looking forward to building our relationship.” Or “Appreciate you accepting my invite Amanda. Let me know if there’s any way I can help you out too.”
Don’t take rejections personally
If someone rejects your request, try not to view it as a personal affront. They may receive too many invites, prefer to keep professional and personal profiles separate, or deactivate their account. Give them space and reconnect down the line if appropriate.
Harassing them with repeated invites and messages will only do harm. Likewise, do not call them out publicly for not connecting. Maintain composure and focus on more fruitful relationships.
An effective LinkedIn invitation message is short but specific, personalised, mutually beneficial, and professionally polite. Proactively connect with new professional contacts you meet in person and warm up cold outreach through shared connections first. Proofread carefully and follow up with those who accept. With these tips, you can craft engaging messages that get accepted and forge valuable career relationships.