“Hi Wendy, I’d like to join your LinkedIn network.” Sound familiar?
This is the standard LinkedIn invitation sent when people hit “connect.” And there’s a good chance you’ve received many of these since you joined LinkedIn.
As a career expert who advocates LinkedIn as a tool for career management and personal branding, my clients frequently ask me what they should do about LinkedIn invitations from people they don’t know.
When you receive the standard LinkedIn invitation from people you don’t know, typically one of two things happen, 1) it’s deleted or 2) you hang on to it because you don’t want to offend the invitee by not accepting. Translation: “invitation limbo.” And a full inbox. After a certain time, invitations are deleted automatically by LinkedIn.
Here are solutions you can use to take action on LinkedIn invitations from people you don’t know:
Step One: Review their profile.
- Do they have a professional headshot?
- Do they have a professional summary that communicates who they are and what they do? Is it interesting? Does this seem like a person who’d add value to your network?
- Have they provided value added content? This could include media links, status updates that resonate with you, etc. Check out their activity.
- Look at their groups. Do you share any in common?
- Check out shared connections. How many do you have in common? Have any of the common connections written a recommendation for this person?
- Is this person an alumni of your school? Or employer?
If all of these are a “go” and the person seems like they’d be a wonderful connection to your LinkedIn network, hit “accept” and write a personal message welcoming him or her to your network.
Step 2: But, I’m still not sure…
- If their background seems intriguing, and you’d like to learn more prior to accepting, pick up the phone and make a personal connection or
- Hit “message” and here’s what I say, “Hi! Thanks so much for your LinkedIn invitation. Refresh my memory, how do we know each other?” Or, “Hi, Thanks so much for your invitation, how might I be of service?” See if they reply and determine your next move based on their response.
- If they’ve written you a message, you can reply to the individual without immediately accepting the invitation.
Step 3: Notice Red Flags
If the profile is missing key ingredients, seems sketchy or that profile looks too familiar (hello, stock photo!), decline.
Step 4: You Get to Choose
It’s YOUR LinkedIn party and you get to decide who gets to join. You got this!
Let me know your favorite tips for LinkedIn invitations in the comments.
And if you or your company needs help with LinkedIn, let’s talk!
Wendy Terwelp is president of Opportunity Knocks™ of Wisconsin, LLC and author of the Rock Your Network® series. Dubbed a “LinkedIn Guru,” by the Washington Post, Terwelp works with organizations ready to take their employees to the next level with the right personal brand, networking strategies and online activities… to not only close more deals and attract more clients, but prepare emerging leaders for the roles you have to fill. Her consulting services, speaking engagements, and workshops serve audiences worldwide through conferences, associations, and corporate engagements.
Terwelp’s private coaching clients regularly win raises, promotions, and jobs. Are you a rock star at work who wants career success on your terms? Schedule a session to discuss your career, goals, and next steps.