LinkedIn has made networking, connecting with your dream employer, and finding new clients easier than ever before. But you only get one shot at a first impression, and unfortunately, most people miss the mark.
And in the digital world where you may never meet a connection in person, that first impression may be the only chance to connect with someone.
It’s safe to say there’s a little bit of pressure here, but knowing LinkedIn etiquette makes it even easier to reach out to new contacts when you’re new to the game. With that in mind, here’s how to make connections on LinkedIn without being creepy.
Make sure your profile is up to date
Before you start reaching out, make sure your LinkedIn profile is optimized so that you’re making a great first impression. Update your professional headshot, work experience, summary, and headline before reaching out.
Research your target
Before you engage with strangers, know a little bit about precisely who you would like to connect with. What company do they work for? What position are they in? What can you find about them on Facebook? Look for any personal connections or common experiences you can note that may come in handy – just don’t take it too far.
Briefly introduce yourself to new contacts
Though some may recommend skipping this step entirely, a quick salute to your name and profession may bring light to the reason for your inquiry. You wouldn’t just get right to your pitch at a networking event without a formal introduction, would you? (If so, you should read this.)
Get to the point
Be sure to share your intent in the first message you send, because you may not have another. Beyond that, no one appreciates the suspense of the dreaded words “can we talk?” without knowing the purpose behind the conversation. Briefly and concisely state your purpose for connecting in two short sentences or less.
Ask a question for the next step
Instead of ending your message with a “thank you” or “I look forward to hearing from you,” end your message asking if you can email them or if they have time for a 15-minute call the following week.
Asking a question will more likely enable you to receive a reply.
Making connections on LinkedIn may just help lead you to a new position, new hire, or new client.
Don’t feel overwhelmed, and follow these simple steps to get started connecting with people online.