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Show Some Personality when Connecting on LinkedIn

LinkedIn has made connecting so damned easy that at times the ease of connecting actually defeats its own purpose. You don’t have to let that happen. If you’re into building more than just the number of your connections, then I’ve got some tips and tools for you.

Show Some Personality when Connecting on LinkedIn

Showing personality when connecting on LinkedIn extends beyond my rule #1 – don’t send generic invitations to connect – to my rule #2: Don’t accept invites to connect without actually engaging with the sender.

By taking the time to reply to generic requests, not merely clicking Accept, you show personality and add value while inspiring your LinkedIn fans to think twice about who you are and what you have to offer.

Even when approached by a total stranger who sends me one of those generic invites, I set out to share and provide value, and you should do the same. Just by reading blogs like this one, you likely have a ton of resources to share with those in and out of your industry, so why not share some of your favorites in replies to invites, as I do below:

I’m psyched to make your connection, Ryan, and since I noticed that you’re not yet capitalizing on the most important real estate on your LinkedIn profile, this article, How to Spice Up Your LinkedIn Headline, can definitely help you out.

Thanks so much for including me in your network, Ryan, and I hope you’re having an energizing start to your week.

Melanie Lenci
Master of Technology Management (MOTM)
Award-Winning LinkedIn Profile Scripter
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Certified Employment Interview Pro
ré·su·mé re·lief

And, yes, I’m well aware that my email signature is stupid long. That’s just the boilerplate text that I pick and choose from depending on what I know about my new connection. If my desired connection has some sort of connection to NY (pun intended), then “NY-based” stays. If they’re an IT recruiter or potential client, then of course I want them to know about my Masters in Technology Management. You get the point.

A customized signature reinforces your professional brand, so I definitely recommend using one whenever character limitations permit. If you create a Word doc or add entries to Notes on your Mac, it will make it easier to copy, paste, and customize your e-signature and replies, rather than reinventing the wheel every time.

Now, what about that person you hit it off with at last week’s fundraiser, conference, or sales call, who sends you a LinkedIn invitation before you get the chance? How about providing some value by replying with:

You beat me to the punch, Ruth!

Meeting you at the CTL conference was icing on the cake, and here’s that article I was telling you about, How to Rock Out Your LinkedIn Background Photo.

And isn’t it nice when you see a familiar face on LinkedIn in the form of a shared connection? Hint: when in your inbox, if you hover and click on shared connection (which will only appear if you have any) it will reveal any mutual LinkedIn friends. Build your interaction off that, and throw in a question if you’re really itching to get a conversation started, like:

I’m thrilled to make your connection, Kevin, as it looks like we’re both fortunate enough to know the wonderful Agnes Black. Did you hear about me through Agnes?

And we’ve all encountered spelling errors or dead links when scoping a profile, so why not help them out and send something like:

I’m happy to make your connection, Chris, and as a heads-up, when I clicked on your company website link within the contact section of your profile, I got a page error message, so you may want to check that out.

Thanks so much for initiating our connection, and have a terrific Tuesday.

In the absence of any mutual connections or items to share, you can always take a minute or two to skim your inviter’s profile and shoot back a message that shows that you took the time to check them out:

I’m ecstatic to make your connection, Michael, and blown away by the work you do and recommendations you’ve earned on LinkedIn.

You’ve made my day, as I consider it a professional high point to be included in your network.

Or try something light and fun if their profile screams personality:

I’m tickled pink to have a spot in your network, Christa, and impressed by the progression of your career at Google and the sheer volume of your endorsements.

You go girl!

Now that you’re ready to prompt your own profile double-takes, remember, don’t just hit the Accept button next time you receive an invitation to connect. Instead, make sure you’re on your own LinkedIn profile, head to your inbox, click on Invitations, and select the drop-down arrow to the right of the Accept button, and click Reply (don’t accept yet). Once you’ve received confirmation that your reply has been sent, head back to that big ol’ Accept button and click with pride, knowing you’ve made an impression on your most recent connection.

For more sample scripts and tips, including info on the lesser-known method of connecting that allows you to send longer invites with live links to articles and info worth sharing, check out my companion article, Stop Hiding behind Generic LinkedIn Invites.

Image courtesy of Gratisography.


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