I’m fortunate and grateful to receive lots of requests to connect on LinkedIn.
Heeding the same advice I give my executive job seeking clients, I connect with most people who ask me.
Expanding my network on LinkedIn means more people to learn from and communicate with . . . more people who may spread the word about the value I offer . . . and more potential leads and clients.
If I followed the advice from some who say that you should only connect with people you know, I wouldn’t accept invitations from prospective clients, because initially they’re strangers to me. That practice makes no sense.
Same holds true for job seekers. People you don’t know who want to connect with you may be the very people who can help you meet your career goals.
Besides, if you make a mistake and regret connecting with someone, you can always remove them as a connection. They will not be notified that you did so.
Here are two things that make lots of people pass on an invitation . . . but not me:
💠 A minimal, anemic LinkedIn profile.
I don’t mind if you have very little content in your LinkedIn profile. Maybe you don’t know how to use LinkedIn or are wary of it, so haven’t fully built your profile. As long as your profile tells me who you are and what you do, I’m okay connecting with you.
💠 The default invitation to connect message.
I overlook the faux pas of not personalizing an invitation to connect, and sending off the drab default message, “I’d like to add you to my professional network” or whatever LinkedIn is using now.
Those two things don’t matter much to me.
Even though I accept about 90% of requests to connect on LinkedIn, I draw the line at some invitations.
3 Reasons I’ll Pass Up Your LinkedIn Invitation to Connect
I only have 3 (mostly) hard-and-fast rules for turning down invitations to connect:
1. No photo, a company logo for the photo, or some image that’s not you.
Some job seekers fear discrimination based on age, ethnicity, appearance, etc. if they include their photo.
If you think that HAVING a photo may rule you out as a potential job candidate, NOT having a profile photo will certainly rule you out.
For me, determining whether you’re someone I want in my LinkedIn network, I don’t care as much about the quality of your photo as I do about the existence of one.
No photo means you may not be a real person. Using a company logo or some other image sends a confusing message.
2. Your profile has so little information that I can’t determine anything about you.
I want to know SOMETHING about you before adding you to my network. If you’re just joining LinkedIn, fill out at least some information in the Experience section before you start inviting people to connect with you. Give us something to work from.
3. Something about your profile convinces me that you’re going to try to sell me something or otherwise impose on me.
Similarly, I won’t accept your invitation if you’re clearly using LinkedIn as a dating site. It gives me the creeps when I accept an invitation only to receive a message from them asking me if I’m single and want to get to know them.
Over the years, I’ve received quite a few invitations to connect that included asking me for a date. Sometimes they’ve been graphically lewd and creepy invitations.
I don’t know if men receive these kinds of invitations, but I know lots of women who have.
Likewise, if you include in your invitation to me that you have this great product or service that will help me with some aspect of my business, I’m going to pass. I don’t want to encourage further promotional or hard-sell messaging from you.