Don’t Connect Like This On LinkedIn

IT AdvisorEngine Job Search, Personal Branding

It happened again this week…and last week…and the week before that: I received a LinkedIn invite from someone I didn’t know.  This is NOT a problem in and of itself.  But, and this is a big one, the invite didn’t have a note or any context about why I should accept the invite and what the purpose is.  This happens to me several times each week without fail.

If you have been on LinkedIn for any amount of time, it has likely happened to you.  It’s often people in a sales role but not always.  I frequently hear from people how much they hate it when this happens, which confirms to me, at least in this regard, that it isn’t just a personal pet peeve.

If you send LinkedIn invites to people you don’t know very well, without a note of some kind, STOP.  You’re hurting yourself.  The message from LinkedIn says, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”  This is the equivalent of a stranger walking up to you and without any context or up-front conversation saying “I’d like to be able to tell people you and I have met and are connected in some way, here take my card.”  Most people, my small sampling of conversations would say 80%, feel that’s ineffective and off-putting.  To be effective you want to make sure when you look to add to your network that you do so, with the highest standard networkers in mind.

The feeling you’re creating is one or more of the following:

  1. You think care so little about the integrity of my network that I’ll accept an invitation to join it from a random stranger?
  2. You think you made such an impression on me that I will remember you from a 30 second conversation at an event and have an inkling why you want to connect?
  3. You think I don’t know this is spam? (there are spammers, who try to connect with you on LI with fake profiles then add you to their list)

So, how should you reach out and add someone to your network on LinkedIn?  Unless your relationship is strong and ongoing, include a personal message that gives some context – at a minimum how you know each other and potentially what’s the objective of connecting?


There are certainly some, though they are the minority, who accept invites from anyone that doesn’t appear to be a “spammer.”   Those people however, do not tend to have deep relationships and use LinkedIn for it’s intended purpose.

Remember you’re not building a list, you’re building a network where you can interact, add value, and build relationships.

More to Come

I’ve got a more in in-depth post coming on the topic of connecting on LinkedIn but hopefully this will at least help decrease the random stranger “I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn network” messages that fill inboxes everywhere.

What do you think, do these messages annoy you?  


Paul Sims is a serial entrepreneur and Chief Operating Officer ofKredible, the leader in credibility management.   You can learn more about Paul on his KredCard.