It only took one little click… One second later and your name and invitation to connect were removed from my notifications on my LinkedIn homepage. I probably won’t see your name again—in fact, If I do ever see your name again, I will probably remember it as “that one person that I ignored on LinkedIn.”
While it seems harsh to put it this way (I would never ignore you if I met you in person after a firm handshake and a smile), it goes without saying that the internet has made things a little harder for people to be personal in a digital world. While we hide behind mobile devices and tablet screens, let’s not forget that a little personalization can go a long way.
The Dreaded MessageI often speak in front of college students at Globe University in the Career Capstone classes about the advantages and benefits of LinkedIn. Since these students are about to head out into the real world, it’s very important for them to establish a personal profile to use for professional networking, job searching and more. One of the major points I like to drive home is to delete that generic message that pops up when you request to connect with someone, and replace with personal words of your own.
And yet, it never fails. I get back to my computer, check my email, and realize that I have several invitations to connect on LinkedIn. Wonderful! I think out loud—only to gasp as I read those dreaded words… “I’d like to add you to my professional network.”
WHAT? No personal message? No “Thanks for teaching us about LinkedIn today!”? Nope! My heart sinks as I realize that students, contacts and business professionals alike STILL use this generic LinkedIn message when asking to connect.
First Impressions are Key
This message is the “first impression” of LinkedIn. I’m not one of those people that decline invitations just because I don’t know someone, but I AM one of those people that can feel an instant connection with someone based on their words. So if I don’t know you from Adam, there’s still a chance for us, let me tell you! Just make sure you’re telling me why we should connect. Do we share the same affinity for social media marketing? Do we hail from the same alma mater? Does your co-worker’s friend’s aunt’s sister know me and she said I was SO cool, that you just HAD to know more?
There’s a reason that you can type in the box that holds the dreaded generic message. Use that space to tell me why we should connect. Not only will I probably connect with you, I’m MUCH more likely to act on our newly created connection. Maybe we can grab a cup of coffee and chat business, or maybe I know someone that you should meet. Either way, know that your personal message is your first chance to make a lasting impression!