Linkedin is the Number One Professional Networking Site. If you are actively managing your career a Linkedin profile is as critical as a professional resume. Establishing an accurate and impressive profile with a customized link which can be shared is just the start to expanding a network with the potential to connect with 161 million professionals! Not to mention access to jobs, companies and groups all at your fingertips to assist in increasing knowledge and opportunities.
92% of Hiring Managers are using social networks to seek out potential clients and 86% of those are targeting Linkedin as their top resource. Your profile is key to the impression you will generate but so too is the network of connections you have established. The Linkedin invitations you send or accept are a reflection of your integrity and it will be obvious if you have concentrated on expanding your network in terms of numbers rather than individuals.
The “how to” of Linkedin invitations to expand your network of professionals requires a basic understanding of networking and more importantly networking etiquette. Networking is a 2-way street whether you are online or off just as any relationship is both give and take or it will be deemed dysfunctional. You are the “ideal candidate” presenting a recruiter with a potential fit to satisfy the needs of their paying customer. The recruiter you are connecting with has the potential to introduce you to their client. Both parties will benefit equally from this connection. It is not unlike bartering so when sending an invitation to link in with someone to gain expertise from them, it is easily reciprocated by offering to share with them the expertise you have in your field.
This is what you will see when sending an invitation:
How do you know Martin?
“I’d like to add you to my professional network.”
You must select an option in order to send an invitation keeping in mind that when selected they expand to select a company or school. How many times have you received an invitation from someone that says you have done business with them or are a colleague at a company you have never heard of? The sender of that message has damaged their credibility. To make it worse is to send the canned invitation and with no further explanation.
Networking etiquette when face to face is a mandatory handshake. This personal touch is no less important online and is easily met by sending a custom message. DO NOT send the canned invitation, “I’d like to add you to my professional network” without customizing it to indicate to the recipient who you are and why they should accept the invitation. If it is not personal, it is not professional.
There is one option available to select when sending a Linkedin invitation which is not noted above but will appear if you are a member of the same group as the recipient. Joining Linkedin groups is an excellent way to get to know other professionals and expand your professional network.
Remember, your network of connections is a reflection of you. Give careful consideration to the invitations you choose to send and those you choose to accept. How do you know the connection or what do you share in common? Do they have a completed professional profile which includes a profile photo? These are basic components to consider when dealing with Linkedin invitations and expanding your professional relationships.