I’ll just go and say it for whoever benefits from reading this.
Never send a blank connection request on Linkedin.
Imagine you are at a restaurant with your friends. You are having a great time, sharing stories and anecdotes of how your week went.
Suddenly, someone approaches your table and silently stands next to you. The conversation fades out slowly while everyone is looking at this person, and this person is silently overlooking everyone at the table, just standing there.
The stranger points to an empty chair and insinuates permission to sit next to you. Everyone looks at each other a bit puzzled, but you don’t dare to say no, so you agree to allow the stranger to sit and make use of the chair. Slowly you reconvene your conversation, laughter and joy spark the night, but this person remains silently present at your table, watching and observing all of you. Now and then, he makes a comment, and at one point, even tries to sell you something.
You get the idea. Now…wouldn’t that be a bit weird?
There’s ALWAYS a reason why you want to connect with someone. So make that reason explicit and be transparent about it.
I am a true believer that there are no strangers, only people you haven’t met yet. But when it comes to LinkedIn, this doesn’t apply. If you send a blank connection request, it’s most likely that you’ll remain a stranger.
Every week I receive invitations from professionals to connect.
I am sure they are all great people. But if there’s no transparent and clear reason to connect, and because they haven’t stated their motives, I pass on accepting the invitation to join in the conversation.
If I have time (which is rarely the case these days), I answer back with a message similar to this one:
Hi, Ash! Thanks for reaching out and for your interest in connecting.
Would you like to share some context on how you got to know about me and why you’d like to connect? Is there something in particular from my profile that caught your attention? Or maybe there’s a specific challenge you face that you think I can help you with?
I am looking forward to hearing back and getting to know a bit more.
So if you are about to send a connection request on LinkedIn to someone, consider doing this instead:
1) Provide context of how you got to know the person and who you are.
2) Make the common ground between you explicit. Point out the things you have in common (interests, professions, studies, relationships).
3) Provide value upfront: show how you can add value to them and do that from the start.
4) Make it personal, make it real. Write something specific which will only be relevant to this person. It will differentiate you from all the other template messages going around.
It only takes a bit of time to craft that message. You have 140 characters to show relevance and resonance. Otherwise, it might be best to simply follow the person. LinkedIn provides such functionality as well.
To your success!
Mr. Cover Letter
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