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11 Ways To Personalize A LinkedIn Invite

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Using social media successfully requires engagement.  Authenticity.  And a personal touch. Especially if you are engaged in career networking.

Your first impression to others matters.  And if your first intro is generic, so does your relationship begin.

I wrote recently about how (I Am Tired) Of Generic LinkedIn Requests.  But I keep getting them so I must have not reached everyone yet.

And the necessary follow-up post is what we are writing today.  I say we because I asked for some help from a few career experts that I know and trust.  To deliver a variety of ideas of how you can make a good first impression – especially if the invite is going to someone you’ve never met.

And someone who may not accept your LinkedIn invitation to connect.  Just because you requested it.  What’s your LinkedIn connection policy?

So here they are.  11 experts with 11 ideas:

@MegGuiseppi – Tell them what you know (or admire) about them, why you want to connect, and how you can help them.  Read Meg’s Blog.

@RyanRancatore – Personalize a Linkedin invite by using THEIR name, and asking a question unique to them about THEIR day/career/life.  Read Ryan’s blog.

@LaurieBerenson – If connecting on LI with an out-of-touch past colleague, update on ur current role and/or offer to meet or speak to catch up.  Suggest how your connections or network could benefit them and/or why you’d like to connect.  Read Laurie’s Blog.

@TheJobQuest – Refer 2 how u know the person. If u follow their tweets, comment on their blog or talk on a LI group, say so in the LI invite.  Read Melissa’s Blog.

@careersherpa – Explain how you know each other or what you have in common, why you want to connect, and be friendly! Please and thank you.  Read Hannah’s blog.

@Keppie_Careers – Invite only those you know or with whom you share a reasonable connection. Don’t assume, explain reasons to connect. Be brief.  Read Miriam’s Blog.

@InterviewIQ – Show benefits of mutual hook-up, personalise, show you have read their profile.  Read Karalyn’s Blog.

@JorgenSundberg – Flatter gets you everywhere – write how much you have enjoyed someone’s blog and how you’d love to meet up one day.  Also, name dropping is very powerful – “such and such mentioned we should get in touch”.  Read Jorgen’s blog.

@jacobshare – Mention how you found the person & refer to something recent of theirs that impressed you.  Read Jacob’s Blog.

@NealSchaffer – I highly recommend you create a standard paragraph which you can cut-and-paste into the “Personal Note” section, customizing the note for each person.  This paragraph should briefly describe who you are, what your LinkedIn Objective is, why you would like to connect, and why they should connect with you.  Read Neal’s Blog.

@JulieWalraven – Find a connection with the person you want to invite & personalize it:
“Great meeting you in Baltimore… I thought we were connected here already but I guess not. Hope all is going well for you in your new space! Let’s Connect!”.  Read Julie’s Blog.

Well, there you have it.  And I hope these 11 ways give you some new momentum in building strong relationships.  And LinkedIn is a great place to start!

What are your ideas?  Will you share yours in the comments?

Also be sure to see the follow-up guest post by Neal Schaffer: Best Practices In Writing LinkedIn Invitations – What’s In It For Me?

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Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
Tags: | | | | | | |
Categories: Using Social Media
  • Careersherpa

    Thanks Tim:

    You know, I think another problem is with the programming on LinkedIn. Newbies, those setting up their account for the first time, are asked if they would like to import their webmail contacts. When they select those people whom they want added to LinkedIn, it generates that horrible “generic email”. So many times, they have no idea what they’ve just done. We’ve said it before, ignorance is not bliss, however, but I do think the folks need more instruction. If something seems to easy, it probably isn’t the right way to do it.

    Thanks for this super post! (And including my tweet)~

  • C. Thomas (Tom) Smith, III

    I start out by letting someone know where we met. I then let them know I’d like to stay connected via LinkedIn if they are open to it. I wrap up by asking if there’s anything I can do to assist their job search, or business if employed.

    I find it difficult to do much more than that given LI’s character restrictions on the connection e-mail.

  • Cynthia H.

    I think a personal touch is essential when inviting someone to link with you. It’s also important when asking for a recommendation. If you can give the person an idea of the type of attributes, skills or project you’d like them to focus on it takes some of the guess work and pressure off of them. I have even heard the suggestion of writing the recommendation for them. I think you want the person to speak from their perespective of the experience with you not what you think their perspective was.

  • Hi Cynthia! I agree that there is nothing wrong with helping someone write a targeted recommendation for you. More topical recommendations are more actionable.

  • Hey Tom – Great and thanks. “Where we met” is important – especially if you are actively networking and meeting lots of new people every week.

  • Glad to include you Hannah! Great point about the newest Li members. I had forgotten about that . . . no wonder so many new invites end up in the trash bin!

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  • That IS a good point, Hannah. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Tim- this post turned out nicely. Good stuff.

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  • I only request people on LinkedIn whom I’ve met in person. I always include a note about where and when we met and why I think it makes sense for us to connect – sometimes more depending on the situation.

  • Steve

    It’s important to be genuine. People can usually tell if you are being distantly polite or warmly personal.

  • Hey Cassie – I really like your strategy. It is somewhat limiting in scope but if that’s your plan for LinkedIn, stick with it!

  • Hi Steve – Agree. I think most of us can the difference as well. And if we can’t, we can always “ignore”

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  • This is spot on, Tim. I think most people shy away when they hear the word ‘personalize’ thinking it may take time to write it and/or they will have to labor over word choice, etc…but it can be simple and straightforward. Like a hand written note, a little bit of personalization goes a long way.

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  • Yes, I think so too Lisa. Some have shared that too much personalizing can feel like spam. So simple and straightforward is good advice . . .

  • Aingallinera

    In my LinkedIn invites I try to cover four main things: (1) who am I; (2) why asking for the contact; (3) offer to assist in any way ; and (4) give them a telephone contact (this allows them to call before accepting and having a brief dialogue) I have found this works in adding people who I do not know personally, but have an association their a mutual friend or group. After them accept, I send a “thanks” and we should talk in the near future… Here’s my copy I was in my invites:

    As a retired CEO of a Hard Money Lender here in California, I am always looking to add similar professionals to my database of contacts; and I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn. If I can be of any assistance in my field or introduce you to someone I know, please call me.

    Al Ingallinera (714) 646 6443

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  • Hey Al – Appreciate you sharing that specific example – really helpful for others!!

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  • Richard Blackburn

    Tim – Thought I’d share the following LinkedIn invitation. It’s “somewhat” personalized, I guess. Not too surprisingly though, I’ve archived it without responding. For the sake of the person concerned, I’ve removed his name.

    My message is: find something that you really have in common with the person. If the best you can do is find an all-purpose group with 1000s of members, I’m not going to see the potential connection so I won’t respond. I also know for a fact that I’ve never met this person.

    Here’s the invite in question:

    “_____ has indicated you are a fellow group member of Windmill Networking in Southern California “So Cal Sushi” – Open Networkers and Social Media Fans · Richard, Our paths haven’t crossed recently, but I see you’re a member of Windmill Networking in Southern California and … we should be linked. It would be great to connect so we can exchange ideas in the future. Thanks! ________”

    See what I mean? Make it personal, people!

  • Richard Blackburn

    And here’s another one (same group, interestingly)…

    _______has indicated you are a fellow group member of Windmill Networking in Southern California “So Cal Sushi” – Open Networkers and Social Media Fans · Hello I noticed that we share a common Group. Therefore, I respectfullt ask that we connect. Dont worry.. you won’t be getting any SPAM from me. I’m honest Orange County Business owner that is simply looking to expand my “Business Connections/Business Network”. Thanks, __________

    If you tell me I don’t have to worry about SPAM, I’m worried about SPAM. A real connection wouldn’t even think of that as a potential issue.

    Again, “ignore”d…

  • Stacyteaches4th

    Thanks for all the blog posts. I actually just watched a video training recently called LinkedIn Job Searching. In there the guy was talking about making connections with potential employers or people at companies that you’d like to work for.

    I think it’s critical in those circumstances to definitely have a potential connection there (a 2nd level connection), and make sure they know why you’re connecting with them. I’ve found that creating connections for job searching can be invaluable.


  • Great examples, Richard. And I appreciate your sharing a reaction to them. I agree – don’t just customize, personalize!!

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  • Great posting Tim. I also enjoyed your earlier post about generic invitations. They really disappoint me as they make me feel like I’m just making up someone’s connection numbers rather than an opportunity for a meaningful or interesting connection.

    I recently joined the Career Launch Network Group on LinkedIn and am finding the discussions and links to articles like yours really insightful. Thanks for sharing such great material.

  • Hi Majella – Thanks for taking the time to comment. Much appreciated! And, yes, no one likes to feel like they are being used! Glad you have enjoyed the articles!

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  • LBrennan

    When I want to connect, I make sure I REALLY want to connect – not just MAKE connections.  I always say something like “I noticed that we share a connection with JOHN DOE, and I’d like to add you to my network, if you don’t mind.”  I NEVER try to make a connection just to make a connection – I prefer to be very selective.  I reject all requests that list me as a FRIEND when I have never met the person before and the request is generic.

  • Really like that approach and thanks for providing examples – those are really helpful for others looking to “really” connect as well.  🙂

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  • My comfort level as someone who is energized by small pockets of conversation is to connect with first tiers at a deeper level–I have only a handful (at that) in my first tier that I can’t pick up the phone and call even if we haven’t spoken in many years.

    So, yes, personal, meaningful, polite and engaging works each time. Take an idea from someon’es work and let them know how that idea added meaning to your life/work and offer a give back, if possible.

    Great ideas–now I guess we need a techie to fix the programming on LinkedIn. Right, Hannah?

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  •  Thanks S – I’m now trying something new.  I don’t just ignore the generic ones any more.  I will respond to see if they do (and how they do) first then ignore.  If they respond to my note, I will consider connecting if we can have a quick back and forth re: why a connection makes sense.  If I get a good response I will find their original request and accept it.  If they don’t respond, it remains ignored. 

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  • Mark S. Fitzgerald

    I’ve had pretty much success using a form of these two types of invitations:

    Person’s name: I’ve noticed that we have not been properly introduced to each other, so I would like to connect with you to share ideas, connections and to network
    concerning business opportunities. If not interested, please click IGNORE.
    – Mark S. Fitzgerald, Architect | LEED AP


    Person’s name: We’ve never met, but I admire your work at XYZ Corp and share your interest in _____ (insert something specific you learned from their profile). Can we connect? I’d love to learn more about this area of expertise. If not interested,
    please click IGNORE.
    – Mark S. Fitzgerald, Architect | LEED AP

    As you can plainly see, I’ve include an optional way for the invitee to not accept my invitation if they are not interested. That way, my LI profile will not be tagged as spam.
    BTW…Great article Tim!

  • Thanks Mark and I love the examples you shared. So many wonder how to do this effectively and always appreciate real life ideas.

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  • Thanks Stacy – Agree. Absolutely critical. And I hope more learn these best practices. 🙂

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