I feel extremely lucky that almost everyday I receive at least 3 requests to connect
via LinkedIn, if not more. LinkedIn is my favorite job search (and recruiting) tool in
my job search toolbox and knowing that my profile is attracting attention is highly
But, I have observed that just about everyone who wishes to connect with me makes
a huge error: They do not use the dialogue box to create a personalized message when they request to connect.
Here’s some free guidance from a job search coach who also continues to recruit
candidates – If you don’t take advantage of that dialogue box, you’re missing out on
some significantly important opportunities to make a great impression.
(Please read the above paragraph again.)
Here’s why I implore you, beg you, to write a personal message: If you send
someone a request to connect and use the default “I’d like to connect” that LinkedIn
so kindly provides, you miss out on free advertising for yourself. Use of the default
typically means that you’re not selling yourself and in these competitive times for
the job seeker, you need to take advantage of every opportunity to sell yourself to
Think about it from the recipient’s point of view. When you get a generic form letter in the mail, does it stand out to you? Is it memorable? Do you take the extra time to read it word-for word? Probably not. But what about a personalized note that someone actually took the time to craft? I bet that type of communication and its sender are more likely to get your attention, and maybe even your respect and a return response from you.
Let me give you a great example in the context of job search and LinkedIn.
Recently, I posted a job for a well-known regional company and since I often receive
requests to connect, I went about my usual discernment process of evaluating
whether I wanted to connect with people who reach out to me. But, one of those
who reached out did not take advantage of the dialogue box on LinkedIn and I
passed the connection over since I didn’t know him.
He missed his opportunity to say something like this: Lora, I noticed that you have
posted a position and I would appreciate knowing more about the role and whether
my extensive sales background maps to the role. I have been in sales for 10+ years
and I am intrigued by the opportunity. May we connect or at least exchange email?
Bob missed out. He was in the usual group of people who defaulted to the existing
dialogue box and I never accepted his connection. (By-the-way: please list your
phone number too, if you’re a job-seeker. When wearing my recruiting hat I really
appreciate the phone number as a means of reaching out quickly.)
Think of the dialogue box as your free, 30-second sales pitch. Who turns down a
freebie opportunity to sell their expertise? Bob did.