Whether you’re new to LinkedIn or a seasoned user, connecting with new people can be a challenge, especially if you’re not sure what to put on your LinkedIn invitation. You might be tempted to use the generic “I want to add you to my LinkedIn professional network” template, but be careful! If you don’t personalize your message, you may lose a valuable networking opportunity.

Here are seven great tips for writing LinkedIn invitations from our recognized career experts:

1. Be honest

“Explain why you want to get in touch with the person,” says Amanda Haddaway, author of Destination Real World: Post Graduation Success for New and Prospective College Graduates. “Just say something. There’s nothing worse than receiving a standard-format LinkedIn request and having no earthly idea of ​​who that person is or why they want to get in touch with you.”

Dorothy Tannahill-Moran of Next Chapter New Life says honesty is the best method when trying to get in touch with someone, especially if you are serious about networking. “If you want to work for your company,” says Tannahill-Moran, “don’t be afraid to admit that you work for your target company and are looking for insights into that company. Open communication is always best.”

2. Tell them how you know them from

“I get a lot of inquiries and always appreciate a brief mention of why the person wants to contact you,” says Jenny Yerrick Martin of Your Industry Insider. “Whether you’ve seen my post on LinkedIn groups, found me through my website, or know someone who knows me in real life, that extra step usually leads me to accept the invitation.”

3. Find common ground

Woman sends a LinkedIn invitation

When trying to find common ground with your potential connection, Haddaway suggests asking yourself these questions:

  • Is it a common professional field or is it an interest?
  • Do you have common connections?
  • Are you connected through LinkedIn groups?

Here is a sample request from Debra Wheatman of Careers Done Write …

Dear Jane: I see that you are a member of the X group. I am also involved in this group and would like to share some ideas with you. Please accept my invitation to connect.

This example is short and sweet, but it gets the point across effectively.

4. Make it personal

Man sends a LinkedIn invitation

“One-size-fits-all invitations are a waste of time,” says Cheryl Simpson of Executive Resume Rescue. Personalize your invitation to connect in any way, always personal, she advises. Mention a common group membership, make note of a common contact, or point out similar backgrounds, educations, or experiences. If all else fails, tell the potential contact what you both want from the connection.

5. Be excited

Woman connects with someone on LinkedIn

“When you approach the CEO / founder of a startup on LinkedIn as part of a job search, you want to start and end by showing your enthusiasm for their business,” said Kathy Ver Eecke of Working For Wonka. “Your expertise, background and skills should be behind your enthusiasm and passion for your business. Want to get their attention and break the ice? Lead with it and you will be there. “

6. Reference your profile

Man connects with someone on LinkedIn

Upstart HR’s Ben Eubanks suggests taking a moment to review your potential connection’s profile and refer to something within.

Example: “Hey, Mike! I saw on your profile that you attended XYZ University. I have a good friend who went there and heard great things about it. I would love to get in touch with you.” Thank you! Day. “

“Contacting us without giving a reason is a quick way to get your message into the spam folder, and LinkedIn will eventually lock your account if you reach the limit of those replies,” he says.

7. Thank you

Working woman invites someone to connect on LinkedIn

Job Hunter Coach’s Arnie Ready says it’s important to thank the person in advance for agreeing to bond. Not only that, you also want to offer to help him / her in any way you can and encourage him / her to reach out to you. This way, your potential contact will feel they can benefit from the connection. It’s about adding value. Remember, you get what you give!

The next time you’re trying to connect with someone on LinkedIn, follow these seven tips. You will grow your professional network faster than you think!

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This post was originally published earlier.

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