As recruiting professionals, networking is a HUGE part of what we do, but admittedly we’re all guilty of cutting a few corners when it comes to sending LinkedIn invitations to connect with candidates. Partly because, LinkedIn has already done the work for us by providing a generic template, but mainly just because we’re just too damn lazy to bother writing our own!
And sure, I know we’ve all got tons of other stuff to be getting on with, especially in the hectic, fast paced world of recruitment, but while failing to write a personalized connection message may be saving us time, it’s losing us candidates. Think about it this way, would you approach someone at a networking event without as much as properly introducing yourself? Because using LinkedIn’s template to send a connection request is the online equivalent of doing that. Why should a candidate accept the request if they’ve no idea who you are and what you want? (There mothers did tell them never to speak to strangers after all!)
This is why it’s crucial that you put the time into customizing your invitation messages on LinkedIn. So to help you construct the perfect request, Webquacker have created this little ditty:
- Make sure you have a good quality photograph of yourself on your profile. The person that you are connecting with will build a first impression of you based on this, so make sure it is professional and gives a positive representation of who you are. Selfies (unless it’s a #WorkSelfie), party pics and low resolution photographs are best avoided. Check out this infographic for tips on how to take the perfect LinkedIn profile photo.
- Address the individual by name. By beginning your message with ‘Hi [name]’ it gives a more personal feel, rather than giving the impression of you sending out connection requests willy nilly. Just be careful to spell their name correctly as a misspelling will suggest a lack of care. As someone with an unusual name, I can’t stress this point enough. Their name is written in black and white on their profile. They have spelled it the way it is supposed to be spelled, so no matter how strange you think that spelling looks, spell their name the way they do. Don’t cause them offence before they’ve even read the invite!
- Introduce yourself or explain how you know them. If you’ve met before, chances are that they will remember who you are without prompting, but just in case, it’s always good to remind the individual where you met e.g. conference, lecture, meeting etc. Alternatively, you may be sending the invitation because you read their work, you would like to do business with them or (as is the case with many recruiters) you would like to hire them. In this case just tell them that. Most people will be flattered that you were impressed enough by something they wrote or produced that you felt the need to contact them, or that you were impressed enough by their skills and abilities that you want to contact them about a job. Then be sure to introduce who you are and explain what you do (so as not to leave them guessing).
- Explain why you would like to connect with them. People are more likely to accept a connection invitation if the sender has a proper reason for reaching out to them and is not just looking to expand their network by any means.
- End on a positive note. Finishing your message with a warm sign-off will make you appear approachable and users are much more likely to accept an invitation with a welcoming tone. If you have noticed you have any “uncommon commonalties” with the person e.g. you both keep Alpaca’s as pets or you both enjoy watching the Walking Dead, why not give a little mention in the sign like “Hope you enjoy the next episode of The Walking Dead, I can’t wait!” or something along those lines. People will always feel more inclined to respond to someone with similar interests to them.
This post originally appeared at SocialTalent.co.