When sending a connection request on LinkedIn, it’s important to personalize your message and provide context for why you want to connect. A generic message like “Let’s connect!” often gets ignored. Instead, take a few extra minutes to craft a thoughtful note that shows you value the other person’s time.
Do Your Research
Before reaching out to someone, learn about them by looking at their LinkedIn profile and elsewhere online. See what you have in common – perhaps you went to the same school, work in the same industry, or share mutual connections. Point out these similarities in your message to show you took the time to get to know them.
Also look for ways you could help them. If you have a contact at a company they used to work for, offer to make an introduction. Or if you have expertise in an area listed on their profile, suggest setting up a call to provide advice. People are much more likely to accept your request if they know it comes from a place of wanting to add value.
Keep It Short
LinkedIn connection request notes have a 300 character limit. That may seem short, but it’s plenty of space for a personalized message. Long-winded notes come across as self-serving or thoughtless. The key is crafting a focused ask that quickly gets to the point.
Here are some examples of concise, effective messages:
- “Jane, I see you work at XYZ Company. I used to collaborate with them often while at ABC Inc, and would love to connect.”
- “Hi Tom, I noticed you went to University of Michigan – I did too! Would be great to connect with a fellow Wolverine.”
- “Sarah, we have 5 mutual connections, including James Smith whom I used to work closely with. I’d love to connect.”
Notice how these keep it brief but make it clear you did your homework and are reaching out for a reason.
Make It Personal
Avoid generic language like “I’d love to add you to my professional network.” Instead, be more specific about why you want to connect with this particular person. Did you used to work at the same company? Do you now work in the same industry? Are you both members of the same professional association?
Point out any commonalities you share or ways you could help each other out. This shows you’re interested in a two-way relationship, not just expanding your network for numbers.
Here are some examples of more personal outreach:
- “Linda, I see you also work in digital marketing here in Denver. I’d enjoy connecting with a fellow industry peer.”
- “Mark, your profile mentions you’re an alumni of Northwestern – I work closely with the Northwestern network here in Chicago, let’s connect.”
- “Hi Anne, really enjoyed your presentation at last month’s SaaS Conference. I’d love to connect so we can stay in touch.”
Taking this extra step to personalize goes a long way. People want to know you’re interested in them specifically, not just adding another name to your network.
Reference Any Prior Contact
If you’ve interacted with the person before – whether through email, at an event, or via a mutual connection – briefly mention that context. Reminding them of where you met or who introduced you helps jog their memory and strengthens your outreach.
- “Margaret, we met at last year’s Retail Marketing Conference. It would be great to connect on LinkedIn.”
- “Hi Tom, Darren Williams suggested I reach out to you. I’d love to connect and continue the conversation.”
- “Rebecca, I believe we worked on the Acme account together back when we were both at Agency XYZ. Let’s reconnect on LinkedIn.”
References like these make your request feel less cold and give the recipient needed context.
Suggest Next Steps
In addition to explaining why you want to connect, provide ideas for what you could do next if they accept. This shows you have a genuine interest in developing the relationship.
- “Would love to connect, and possibly set up a call next month to get your insight on the industry.”
- “Let’s connect on LinkedIn – I’d enjoy learning more about your career path over coffee.”
- “I think we could have great conversations on leadership and management. Let’s connect!”
Giving potential next steps makes it easier for them to envision the value of connecting. And it’s another way to demonstrate this is not just a vague, generic outreach.
Proofread Before Sending
With a shorter message, typos and grammatical errors really stand out. Be sure to carefully proofread your note before hitting send. Checking for mistakes reinforces that you’re serious about connecting and invested time into your ask.
In addition to catching typos, read your message from their perspective. Does it communicate respect for their time? Would your request compel you to accept? Get feedback from colleagues if needed to improve your phrasing or formatting.
That extra polish can be the difference between ignored notes and meaningful new connections.
Customize for the Audience
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to LinkedIn outreach. The best messages are tailored both to the individual and the circumstance.
For example, when reaching out to a recruiter or hiring manager, emphasize skills and experience relevant to their openings. For potential clients, focus on what problems you can help solve. And for peers, highlight shared interests and opportunities to collaborate.
Think about what matters most to who you’re contacting, and shape your message accordingly. Customizing for your audience shows sincere relationship-building rather than bulk spamming.
Follow Up If Needed
If your connection request goes unanswered after 1-2 weeks, consider a polite follow up. Send them a message through LinkedIn reminding them of your initial note and reiterating why you want to connect.
The follow up message should be different than your first – don’t simply copy and paste the same text. And allow some time before circling back so you don’t come across as pushy.
A sample follow up might say:
“Hi Matt, just wanted to reiterate my earlier invitation to connect on LinkedIn. As I mentioned, we’re both alumni of Purdue University and I think we could have some great conversations. I understand you’re busy, but please let me know if you’d be open to accepting my invite.”
If they remain unresponsive, move on and refocus your efforts elsewhere. But a polite nudge shows you’re serious about engaging, not just blindly collecting connections.
Don’t Take It Personally If Rejected
Even personalized, thoughtful requests do sometimes get rejected or ignored. Don’t let it discourage you. How people respond often depends on many factors beyond your control.
They may already have too many connections, be restricting how many people they add, or have moved to a new role and changed their networking goals. It’s rarely a reflection on you or your approach.
Everyone has different reasons for how they manage their network. Keep trying with other prospects, and you’ll connect with those who see the value. Handling rejection gracefully will serve you well on LinkedIn and off.
Review Your Existing Connections
Before continuously expanding your network, audit who you’re already connected to on LinkedIn. Sort your connections by frequency of contact – are there people you haven’t actually engaged with in years?
Consider pruning connections that no longer make strategic sense. It’s better to have 200 meaningful relationships than 500 mostly idle ones. Removing outdated links ensures you can focus on nurturing the connections that do further your goals.
This maintenance also protects your time. The larger your network grows, the more challenging it becomes to sustainably interact with everyone. Be selective about who you continue investing in.
Make Use of LinkedIn Groups
Joining relevant LinkedIn Groups can expand your reach for making connections. Once you’ve joined a Group, you can directly message any other members – even if you’re not connected on LinkedIn.
This gives you access to an entire pool of prospects with a shared interest or affiliation. You can then use Groups as a networking and engagement channel to develop promising new relationships.
When reaching out to Group members, explain what makes the Group valuable and why you’d like to connect outside of it. Highlight what you have to offer them through your own insights and network.
Connect In Person First When Possible
The best foundation for a strong LinkedIn connection is making a real-life introduction first. Attend conferences, trade shows, networking events and other gatherings that will put you in the same room with prospects.
Once you’ve met someone face-to-face and made a positive impression, ask to connect on LinkedIn after. This will make your request much more likely to get accepted.
In-person meetings build familiarity and trust that create a receptive context for an online connection. When viable, connect offline before attempting to connect online.
Focus on Quality Over Quantity
Resist the urge to send generic connection requests in mass. It may seem like the fastest path to expanding your network, but these shotgun style invites almost always get ignored.
50 thoughtful personalized requests will be far more successful than 500 bland bulk messages. Remember that your time is finite, so be selective about who you’re connecting with and why.
Set weekly or monthly caps on how many requests you’ll send to stay focused. It’s better to gradually develop a robust network with people you actually interact with rather than chasing vanity metrics.
Make Use of Advanced LinkedIn Search
LinkedIn’s advanced search allows you to find very targeted prospects based on multiple criteria like location, company, job title, skills, and shared Groups.
Rather than randomly reaching out, use advanced search filters to pinpoint individuals with commonalities relevant to you. This helps you come across as knowledgeable about them in your request.
Look for contacts who can enable you to “fill a gap” – offering connections, expertise or other value your current network is missing. Be strategic with search.
Send Thank You Notes
After someone accepts your connection request, follow up with a thank you note. Express your appreciation and reiterate your interest in interacting further.
This keeps the momentum going and encourages future engagement. It also reinforces that the relationship is now a two-way street.
Set calendar reminders if needed so your thank you messages go out promptly after connecting. Don’t let these small but meaningful gestures slip through the cracks.
A sample thank you note may say:
“Leslie, appreciate you accepting my connection request on LinkedIn. I’m looking forward to collaborating and supporting each other’s career growth!”
Keep Your Profile Updated
To attract connections relevant to your current aspirations, ensure your LinkedIn profile fully reflects where you are now. Profiles fall out of date as people take on new roles and develop new skills.
Regularly audit your own profile to showcase your latest experiences, accomplishments, interests and goals. This gives prospective connections an accurate view of how they might engage.
Also evaluate if your profile photo, headline, and summary align with the impression you want to project. Keeping things current encourages the right people to connect.
Connecting on LinkedIn is most effective when done thoughtfully. Avoid impersonal bulk outreach in favor of personalized messages showing you respect the recipient’s time. Research prospects beforehand, keep your ask concise, suggest next steps, and follow up politely.
Focus more on who you’re connecting with rather than how many. Quality connections who actively engage will do far more for your career than idle contacts. With a little extra effort, your personalized requests can yield meaningful new relationships.