With the business environment fairly grim, and the job market hitting new bottom every day, people are beginning to make use of social media networks more intensely. I make it a point to share in every talk and workshop to faculty, entrepreneurs as well as students that you must dig your well before you are thirsty. Sadly most of us don’t give it the relevant importance. You start searching for water, only after getting thirsty. When it is really a bit too late. And there are too many people vying for it.
One of the more popular and effective online professional networking tool available to all of us is LinkedIn.With the increase in number of people using LinkedIn it is not surprising to receive/send a handful of requests every day. Most of the invitations have the standard default message provided by the system. This is my opinion is the coldest way to request a connection,. While such invitations are fine when sent to family and close friends, it does not help in making new connections. The message portion of the invitation is a great way to make a first impression. Any note that you put there makes you different from most others. If you can add a quick reason for connecting, it makes it sweeter.
While the message that you write as a part of a LinkedIn invitation has a limit on the number of characters, it is large enough to let the other person know why you are attempting to connect. If you have met the person earlier, a reference to that meeting can help establish context. If you have been acquainted to the person’s work or activity a reference makes the connection easy and possible. If you intend to create a connection because of a common cause or interest, mentioning it helps make the connection. If you have no reason why you are connecting other than increasing your list of connections, you will be better off not sending the invite.
There are innumerable resources available online that provides tips and techniques for using LinkedIn effectively. While I do recommend keeping up with the changes happening on LinkedIn and learning to use it better, the act of sending that first invitation to connect is in my opinion the most essential. If first impressions matter and well begun is half done then learning how to send a LinkedIn invitation is probably the most important activity to learn and do on LinkedIn. Happy connecting!