Let’s Boycott the Default LinkedIn Connection Request

Yet again, today I got 2 requests to connect on LinkedIn – both with the standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network…” One was someone whose name I recognized, but who I don’t know personally. The other was a random person I’ve never met nor spoken with.

Never mind that I’ve displayed, prominently on my profile, ►I appreciate personalized messages and requests! (hint hint?!)

Sometimes, I let these requests pile up – not because I don’t want to connect, but because I can’t be bothered. Why should I, when the requester can’t be bothered to write a personalized message if they don’t know me well (or at all)?

Despite all the articles about the dangers of LinkedIn Auto Connect, users continue doing it.

This is the wrong way to make a LinkedIn connection because:

  • It’s impersonal. The irony of the world’s largest professional social media network is the depersonalization of making connecting too easy. Connecting with someone should be done purposefully.
  • It makes you look lazy – probably not the impression you want to give potential colleagues.
  • It’s rude. Maybe you don’t mean to be rude, but (surprise!) doing the minimum and expecting the maximum is just WRONG.
  • Quantity over quality? LinkedIn isn’t Facebook. It’s not about seeing how many strangers you can connect with, but building relationships with people.
  • You want my help. If you’re determined enough to connect with me, seize the opportunity to tell me WHY. I can’t help you if I don’t know you – or what you want.
  • I’m doing you a favor. Maybe you’re connecting with me for career advice. If so, do ME a favor and take thought and care into your correspondence. If I accept your request, a simple “Thanks” and an attempt to build rapport will go a long way.

**Mobile App Users: Since the LinkedIn mobile app doesn’t allow customized messages, consider connecting with unknown persons via a real computer.

Ladies and Gentlemen: it only takes a few seconds to customize a LinkedIn message. These few seconds can be the difference between branding yourself as competent or klutzy.