Let me start by saying this. I love LinkedIn. I LOVE IT. According to my profile, I have been a member since August 30, 2005. So I’m coming up on 12 years. I was super psyched when I got that fancy little “500+” symbol.
My network has gone thru a ridiculous amount of changes during this time.
First I did the address book import thing to bulk up the connections.
Then I did the “invite the contacts that aren’t on LinkedIn to create a profile thing.” I can’t tell you the sense of satisfaction when you’re spreading the LinkedIn Word. That guy that you emailed off of CraigsList to fix your faucet? Check. Your grandmother? Check. That dermatologist you went to that one time to have “that thing” checked out? DONE. I HAVE SO MANY MORE CONNECTIONS THAN YOU NOW. OH THE SHAME YOU MUST FEEL.
Next up was private accounting in Philly. Then public accounting in NYC. Then I dropped a lot of Philly connections. Then I added them again (Don’t ask. I’ve been thru several misguided attempts at “strengthening” my connections and LinkedIn feed.).
Then it sort of changed towards focusing on people that would be “good” to have in my network. I use quotes because there may not be an obvious reason to connect with someone, but you just know that they would be good to know. You’ll know it when you see it.
But during my 12 years of networking and connecting, there has always been a constant: My actual LinkedIn invite message.
In the beginning, everyone used the stock message.
“I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”
I mean’ technically, yes, it’s accurate. I WOULD like to add them to my network on LinkedIn. My network is made up of professionals. I am not lying. I can rest easy at night knowing this.
But, again, this was 2005. There are many things we did in 2005 that shouldn’t be the “go to” now. I highly doubt you’re reading this article on your Blackberry 7100 right now, which had the most advanced OS at the time. I doubt you’re reading this article on ANY Blackberry for that matter. *EDITOR’S NOTE* I bought the Blackberry Passport. At retail price. Go ahead...look it up. Yup. RETAIL.
Imagine this scenario – You are at networking event. Across the room, you see someone you really want to talk to. You HAVE to be in this person’s professional circle. They are your schmoozing White Whale. You walk over, make eye contact, dry your hand on your side and extend it for a firm (but not too hard) handshake. This is it. Your only chance to make a first impression.
“I would like to be a part of your network!”
Smooth. Real smooth. They fake a phone call and walk away.
I get, on average, around 3 million invites a day. Give or take. I have a general rule that I scroll thru and look at the invites with a note first. I’d say less than 10% of invites that I get include a note. And it bums me out. I really want to know what prompted you to send me that invite. Do you need me for something? Did I do something that you particularly liked, or perhaps had a question about? Maybe LinkedIn suggested you connect with me, and you were mesmerized by that headshot of mine (I don’t blame you. You’re human. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You know who you are.).
Take today for example:
“Love for you to take a look at my profile and see what you think. I also have a few people that could use your service.”
“Hi Adam, I read your post and I am interested in your reviewing my resume.”
“Hi Adam! I really enjoy your posts and admire your “Candidate of The Day” feature. I’m a career coach near Philly and I’d love to connect. Thanks!”
FANTASTIC. This one has it all. He knows what I do. He explains what he does. He uses EXCLAMATION POINTS. He said "thanks!" If you use exclamation points? I'm in. If you use CAPS? I'm writing you back in 5 seconds.
“Please connect with me.”
Also, some people do utilize the free InMails for my account and in their defense, send me a nice InMail with lots of info, and then request a connection. That’s a good way to go if there is some explaining to be had.
You can see how the first 3 invites pass the “in-person” test. You could actually approach someone and strike up a conversation that way. The 4th would probably be more creepy (I’m sorry Creepy. I really am.).
And no, using the app isn’t an excuse. See the ellipse? The ellipse. You know, the “…” to the right of the pic? Touch there. “Personalize Invite.” There you go, no more excuses.
LinkedIn ProTip!!! Also, you can do the same thing when trying to connect with a 3rd degree connection. Click the “…” and the “Connect” will show up there as well.
The whole idea is to strike up a conversation. You want to be a part of someone’s network. Tell them what you bring to the network. Tell them why you want to be a part of their network.
I can honestly say that I do not regularly network with anyone that hasn’t personalized an invite. That’s not a conscious decision…the personalized invite connections are just who I remember. You want to be remembered. If you are remembered, YOU are the one that gets the referral. YOU are the one that gets the call about that job.
Want some examples of some of my invites?
“We have a connection in common & I would like to add you to my network on LinkedIn, which focuses on public accounting professionals. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to solicit you.”
I know what they do, how we are connected, and I know you hate me probably since I am a recruiter
“You have the best Headline I have ever seen.”
Full disclosure – I have used this twice. But I meant it each time I said it.
“Your LinkedIn summary is the best…I feel the same way and was hoping we could connect and talk further about it”
I’m going to leave that one up to your imagination.
But you get the point. I know who they are, what they do, and I know why I want to connect with them. And I want them to know why I want to connect with them.
Also, I have been told that I am usually the only person that sends a "Thank You" note for my invite. Now its MY turn to stand out to the inviter. The tables have turned! I will not be outdone!
I invite you to check out your sent invites. How memorable are you? How many times have you passed the “in-person” test? How many times were you the Creepy Guy?
Here’s a little tip…if that person doesn’t know you, and doesn’t know why you are inviting them? And they decline? Oh, and if they are just the WORST HUMAN EVER and decides to escalate things? You know, clicking “I Don’t Know This Person?” If enough people say that about you, LinkedIn takes away your ability to invite people. That’s it, you’re shunned. A LinkedIn outcast. All because you couldn’t take a few extra seconds to stand out.
Here, let me help you out:
“Hi! I was really impressed with your profile and was hoping we could connect.”
That took me literally 2 seconds to type. And even less to think of it. Feel free to put your own spin on it.
Just stop yelling at me at networking events.
Thanks for making last week's article "You & Your Brand – LinkedIn Profiles'" a featured article on RecruitingBlogs https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/you-your-brand-linkedin-profiles-ada...
If you have any questions about anything I discussed in the above article, looking for a job and/or working with a recruiter, just ask! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more about me or my firm, please visit www.karpiakconsulting.com or www.linkedin.com/in/akarpiak I am always looking to network with good professionals that share my values in recruiting, so shoot me an invite if you agree with me!
You can find job postings, as well as loads of content on Karpiak Consulting's Facebook page www.fb.com/karpiakconsulting Please "like" or follow the page to be kept up to date on all of new content daily. I re-post articles of interest I find online regarding recruiting & public accounting, and I also post emails & messages I get (redacted of course) regarding recruiting that I think are of interest, including stories from candidates about other recruiters doing bad/confusing things.
I am also featuring a Candidate Of The Day. If you are interested in being featured in one of my daily LinkedIn posts, shoot me the following info in an email (I've created a Gmail account to stay organized: DailyJobCandidate@gmail.com) with the subject: Daily Job Candidate. Tell me your desired position, industry, and geographic area. This way my entire network of recruiters and networkers could see if they could help out the candidate in any way with leads or point them to someone else that might be able to help. Just by reading the post, people in my network would be able to:
1) Reach out to the candidate directly if they think they can help them.
2) Like or share the post with their network, in the hopes someone in their network can help the candidate.
3) Tag a person in the post's comments that may be able to help the person.