LinkedIn Connection Request Etiquette

linkedin connection puzzleDear people of LinkedIn, kindly read the following…

For the many on LinkedIn who claim to be “professionals”, it’s rather startling how few are able to act with any professionalism. That is, when it comes to utilizing best practices when sending out a LinkedIn connection request!


First and foremost, I do not profess to be some LinkedIn power user. I don’t have 500+ connections (I prefer quality over quantity). Nor am I a LinkedIn expert for acquiring leads etc. There are countless articles and books written on the topic. So knock yourselves out on those.

Plenty of “how-tos” on crafting the perfect LI profile etc etc..

Despite all the good LI info out there, it boggles my mind how may people fail to put these basic best practices into action. It’s a puzzle and the pieces just don’t fit. With that in mind, this post is part connection request etiquette and part ranting.

Perhaps actually implementing some of these best practices will reduce the likelihood of your LI connection requests from hitting the “Ignore” rather than the “Accept” button.


Requesting a LinkedIn Connection:
The Right Way!

Personalize your connection request. It’s that simple!!

The standard “Hi _____, I’d like to join your LinkedIn network” is a joke. It shows no effort whatsoever.  It’s totally beige.


Look at their profile first!!
Before you send out that totally bland connection request, look at their profile first.

Why do you want to be connected to an individual? What is it about them or their background you find appealing? Perhaps you are inspired by their accomplishments? Will this connection add value? Or does it come with expectation – merely “trading value” instead?

Take time to learn something about the individual you are requesting a connection with and personalize the request as such. Be genuine. Be interesting – not like someone just trying to stockpile connections.

No, this isn’t stalking. It’s a good thing. It reflects you took some time and effort. Then craft and personalize your connection request. Eezy peezy!

“By personalizing your LinkedIn connection request, you immediately improve the odds of the person accepting your request”

As for you folks that look at profiles in what I call “stealth” mode, you totally creep me out. Show yourselves!! Yeah I get it, you may be a recruiter or someone may be looking at a job under the radar – but I’m NOT one of those folks.

LinkedIn is supposedly a platform for professionals, right? I mean you want to reflect some decorum of professionalism with your background and experience, correct? Then you need to take some time to fill out your profile.

If someone sends you a request and you go to check out their profile only to find it devoid of any info, what motivates them to want to accept your connection? They’ll hit the “Ignore” button instead.


If I Already Know You…
If we already know each other (past colleagues, friends etc.) and cross paths via LI, then you generally get a “hall pass” about not customizing your request. However, it’s still a good practice to include a personal note.

Professionalism still applies.


Regarding Recruiters… PLEASE Learn to Read!
In the top navigation of your LinkedIn Profile page is a link labeled “Jobs”. We’ve all seen this right? When you click on it, it will show you jobs you may be interested in. Above that is a section called “Career Interests”. It gives you an opportunity to drill down what your looking for a bit. It also has a section where you can leave a “Note to Recruiters”.

See image below
LinkedIn Note to Recruiters

In my Note to Recruiters, it clearly states that I’m NOT looking for a job. I’m a business owner who works directly with clients. It’s right there in black and white.

If they actually took a moment to read this info, it would save us both time. It is after all for THEIR benefit.


Your “Brood” Doesn’t Belong in your Profile Photo

picture frame profile photoYes, it IS advised to have a photo on your LinkedIn profile. It does not have to be some “glamour shot” or the like. But your profile photo should be YOU!

It should not be a husband and wife photo. Not you and your dog photo (as much as I love dogs). It’s not where you put a family portrait (I don’t get why people do this??). And, it’s not you with your newborn baby showing it off like it’s some trophy. Honestly, those kinds of photos belong on Facebook – not in a LI profile photo.

On that note, I know folks who do not want theirs on LI cuz they’re older. So here’s the question: If someone discriminates against you based on age or appearance, why would you want to be affiliated or work with them anyway?

Bottom line, no appropriate photo, no connections accepted. That’s how I roll.


Keep Religion Out of It!

This one will likely ruffle some feathers, but I’m going to include it anyway. For the record, I’m not trying to bash anyone’s religious beliefs…

illuminated crossWhen I receive a LinkedIn connection request, the first thing I do is look at/read the person’s profile. I like to get a sense of who someone is before I say yay or nay. That being said, if your profile summary, reads “you’re a good Christian”, I’m outta there and hitting the “ignore” button faster than you can blink!! Ironically enough, these (mostly men) who send LI connection requests of this nature are the same ones that have their entire brood in their profile photo. What gives? Are there a lot of “bad” Christians out there that you have to distinguish yourself differently?


Point of contention:
Perhaps this particular topic strikes a cord with me more than others. Here’s why…

A few years ago I had an opportunity to do some part time graphic design work with a Mission. It seemed like a good idea at the time – to work with such an organization. However, shortly after the initial introductions, I received a document stating that if I wanted to work with them I had to literally “sign off as Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior”. Me, NOT happy! I had no intention of signing off on anything of the sort! My ability to design had nothing to do with my religious beliefs – whichever they may be. For the record, I responded to their request with a resounding NO WAY!!

So unless you are say, a Minister, Rabbi, Preacher or the like and that is your actual title in your profile, then keep your personal religious stuff out of the mix. Quite frankly, it’s offensive. It’s NOT going to make me want to accept your LI connection request. In fact, it’s just the opposite!


Put Some Thought into It…

In closing, the next time you make a LI connection request, use etiquette and put some thought into it. LI is supposed to be a platform for professionals so act with professionalism. Be interesting and engaging making people want to connect with you 🙂

Seriously people, you should know the do’s and don’ts of how to do this by now. Perhaps if you did this correctly, I’d actually accept your LinkedIn connection request. Considering how many connection “fails” I’ve received lately, there’s obviously work to be done.

For those you that get it right, YAY! You can find me via my profile and request a LI connection here.


eco-conscious graphic designer barbara rogersWritten by Barbara Rogers of Future Primitive Graphics. Graphic Designer and Nature Inspired Art photographer visually enhancing client’s print and digital media. Creatively collaborating with those who genuinely want to make the world a better place.