Barbara Safani 5 Comments

linkedin-invite.JPGI just got an invitation to connect from someone on LinkedIn with the following message: “Since you are a person I trust, I want to invite you to join my network on LinkedIn.” I have some real issues with this invitation and here’s why:

  1.  This message was obviously created using a LinkedIn template. The sender put absolutely no time or effort into writing me a personalized invitation or explaining how connecting to him might have value for him or me.
  2. I have never met this person in my life, so writing that I am someone he trusts is inappropriate and frankly a little bit creepy.
  3. This person is affiliated with a company where I have worked, so my guess is that he has mined the LinkedIn database to connect with whoever he can from the company. It appears that this person is doing a good job of gathering information on other people for his own benefit rather than fostering reciprocity and authenticity to build the relationship.

Here are some examples of alternative messages this gentleman could have sent me that probably would have resulted in an accepted invitation:

  1.  Create common ground. Hi! I noticed that you and I are affiliated with the same company and since you are a career strategist and I am a recruiter, I think there may be ways that we can help feed each others’ pipeline. I’d love to learn more about what you do and share some information about my practice as well. Would love to connect.
  2. Start an authentic relationship. Barbara…I decided to skip the boring LinkedIn template and just introduce myself to you. We are both in the business of helping people find better jobs and more fulfilling careers and I would be interested in sharing best practices with you. Do you have time to talk?
  3. Focus on the affinity. I’ve recently been reviewing the profiles of people who have worked for the same companies as me and I came across your information. While I know we’ve never met, I’ve found that people who have worked for the same employer can often benefit from sharing information and experiences. Would you like to connect through LinkedIn?
  4. Give something before you expect to get something. I see from your profile that you help people who are in a job search. I work with many clients who would benefit from your expertise. By connecting on LinkedIn, I can share more information about these clients with you.

Invest the few extra minutes to craft personalized and authentic messages to people you want to connect with. You will be glad that you did. 


  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. Using standard linkedin templates is almost insulting and certainly doesn’t open the door to two-way networking. I advise clients that, even after an event where they meet contacts in person, it is always a good idea to remind the targeted connection where they’ve met and why they should connect. (It was nice meeting you at the ____ event on September 3rd…)

    Using a standard template strikes me as lazy at best and rude at worst. Using a little creativity and effort can take networkers far.

  2. Hi Barbara:

    I couldn’t agree more. I read/heard recently that people can’t attend to more than about 150 relationships, so focusing on quantity over quality seems foolish and counter-productive as you’ve described.



  3. Excellent post, Barbara! You’ve really nailed the problem with canned LinkedIn invitations – and perhaps the reason why many people don’t have more success with this tool. In working with clients, I always recommend personalizing invitations; however, I most often focus on using LinkedIn to connect with people with whom you’ve already established a relationship. So, it’s great to see your four strategies! These are clear and powerful, and seem especially effective for reaching out to people you may not know personally. Thanks!

  4. Hi Barbara,

    This is another example why this blog is in my blogroll!
    Thank you for pointing out improvements and strategies for
    all of us to use.


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