Career Switching

The #1 mistake you are making on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is probably the most used platform for managing professional relationships. LinkedIn’s success comes not just from modernizing the old-fashioned rolodex, but for allowing people to go one step further and connect with people outside their immediate network.

In the real world, as is online, there’s etiquette when asking for something. While LinkedIn may be known as the professional platform, a default setting of theirs is anything but professional and contributes to the number one etiquette mistake people make on LinkedIn: sending a connection request without a personalized message. This is especially important for people you don’t know.

How to avoid the mistake

Factory settings when connecting with someone from the “People You May Know” section, results in no message being sent with your connection request. Whenever I get a request from someone I don’t know, I’m always left wondering who are you and why do they want to connect with me? Just because we have 10 mutual connections, doesn’t mean we should be connected (tell me why).

If you want to significantly increase your chances of your connection request being accepted by someone you don’t know, make sure you don’t connect from the “People You May Know” section, instead search their name in the database, then ask to connect from their profile page. Following this process will ensure you can write a message.

Avoid using the generic “I’d like to add you to my professional network” unless you add why you are reaching out, who you are and if applicable how you met beforehand.

If you don’t know the person- be upfront about what you are interested in and be mindful of what you are asking. Typically it’s not appropriate to ask someone you don’t know for a favour, a job, or a sales pitch… If your intent is to get an informational interview or a moment of their time- here are a couple examples of introductions requesting time that I appreciated.

Examples of introductions to someone you don’t know

“Hi Amanda, as a new immigrant to TO, I was hoping to meet up for a coffee chat and get any guidance on how I could plug into the Sustainability/Impact space here. I am keen on exploring opportunities across verticals. Would appreciate any help!”

“Hi Amanda, I’m starting a business in the social impact / social change space and I really admire what you’ve accomplished with Bmeaningful. I’d love to chat with you about your experience in starting Bmeaningful over coffee or by phone. Let me know if you’re interested and available.”

In the case of a brief encounter – it’s still important to write a message indicating where you connected in real life.  “It was great meeting you the other week at XXX event, it was really nice to learn about your work at Bmeaningful. I hope we can stay connected.”

ps- The etiquette on LinkedIn is different than an email request, where typically you can write a little longer message.

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