There is a right way and a wrong way to connect and build your network online. In this post we discuss why the people you want to network with may not be responding.
It’s the “How”
How we introduce ourselves when meeting someone new in-person obviously makes a difference. A clammy handshake, clip-on tie, and noticeable body odor work against you, while a winning smile, the ability to make eye contact, and respectful manners go a long way. In the digital era, a LinkedIn (LI) introduction may be the first impression someone will form. How you present yourself will affect how you are perceived. If you do the minimum (basic button clicking with stock LI message) and don’t include a personalized note in your invite, how is the person you’re connecting with supposed to know who you are, what you want, or where you come from? Oh, and if you haven’t read our post on social media profile pictures, you should do that before you proceed with LI intros.
This isn’t Facebook, and it certainly isn’t a personal and informal network for the mama-razzi. This may seem obvious, but we are always surprised at how many people say they understand this but still exhibit the same behaviors on LI. LI is a platform and an opportunity to show off your professional chops. If you are going to connect with someone, you will want the first impression to be one that displays thoughtfulness, respect, and hope that you have something in common. Otherwise, why would we want to connect with a total stranger?
A few example introductions that will help you stand out:
- “I heard you speak at the recruiting event last week and wanted to reach out. I took your advice about [interviewing] and it worked – thank you! Please let me know if I can return the favor.”
- “I saw your blog post on [recruiting] and wanted to reach out as I thought what you said about [networking] was spot on.”
- “I just wanted to reach out, as I saw that you are attending the Best Place to Work awards next week. Hopefully, I will see you there – would love to introduce myself as I’m interested in learning more about [your company, your background, other things you have in common].”
By giving the person some context and establishing some common ground (people you both may know, past companies you both may have worked at, attending the same school, shared interests, etc.) you will greatly increase your chances of a response and/or connection. Without some sort of introduction, the person can only wonder where this will lead, and will likely just ignore you.
Key Takeaway: Just because we are not face-to-face does not mean we can afford to be lazy. Many more first impressions are formed on LI, whether from introductions or simply viewing your profile. Make sure you’re playing the LI game according to the rules.
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